Skip to main content

Full text of "Out Of The Depths An Autobiographical Study Of Mental Disorder And Religious Experience"

See other formats


by Anton T. Boisen 

Anton T Boisen's descent into the depths 
of severe psychosis, his tortuous struggle 
back to sanity, and his creative pioneering 
on the frontier of religion and psychology, 
form one of the quietly yet intensely heroic 
sagas of our time. Now in writing his 
own "case history" Dr. Boisen illuminates 
the profound struggles of the human soul. 
His firm conviction, demonstrated in his 
own experience, that mental illness can be 
an opportunity for greater understanding of 
self and the human condition will inspire 
everyone concerned with the problems of 
the emotionally disturbed. 

Anton Boisen grew up in a time and place 
that now appear Idyllic a small univer- 
sity town in the Midwest before the turn 
of the century. Yet a lonely childhood led, 
during college days, to acute difficulty in 
establishing personal relationships. At first 
he turned to the rugged outdoor life of 
Forest Service, then trained in a sem- 
inary for the ministry. In World War I 
he volunteered for YMCA work overseas. 
No venture solved his inner problems. His 
work as a young pastor proved unhappy; a 
lifelong love was destined to frustration. 
Then a severe mental breakdown over- 
whelmed him. The letters written by Dr. 
Boisen at this time, and reprinted here, 

(Continued on Tyack, f-cp) 



Oat of the deoths 

Kansas ei ty nil public libr a ry 

Books will be Issued only 

on presentation of library card. 
Please report lost cards and 

change p? residence promptly. 
Card holders are responsible for 

all books, records, films, pictures 
or other library materials 
checked out on their cards. 








A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience 

A Sociological and Psychological Study 


A Manual for Pastors, with Outlines for the Study of Personal 
Experience in Social Situations 

A Service-Book for Use in Hospitals 








Anton T. Boisen 



Copyright 1960 by Anton T. Boisen 
Printed in the United States of America 

All rights in this book are reserved. 

No part of the "hook may "be used or reproduced 

in any manner whatsoever without written per' 

mission except in the case of brief quotations 

embodied in critical articles and reviews. For 

information address Harper fir Brothers 
49 East 3$rd Street, New York 16, N, Y. 


Library of Congress catalog card number: 60-11771 





Foreword 9 

Acknowledgments 1 1 



Earliest Impressions 2,1 

In the Old Home 2,8 

"Halfway Long Pants" 35 

Undergraduate Days 39 

A New Start 45 


Borders of the Promised Land 52, 

Years of Wandering 65 


Into the Depths 77 

Period of Remission 95 

Relapse 114 

Opening Doors * 2 r 

Breaking New Ground ( 

Growing Pains 



The Basic Conflict 1 98 

The Passages of Scripture 200 

The Acute Episodes 201 

Sense in the Nonsense 204 

Epilogue: The Guiding Hand 209 

Writings of Anton T. Boisen 211 


THIS is MY OWN CASE RECORD. I offer it as a case of valid religious 
experience which was at the same time madness of the most pro- 
found and unmistakable variety. In this record I have brought to- 
gether such material as may throw light upon the origin, meaning, 
and outcome of that experience. This I have done not from any 
love of dwelling upon matters which are often painful and deli- 
cately personal, and certainly not from any desire to display them 
to others. I have written it because now for forty years I have 
been making it my business to inquire into the problems here 
involved, and my own case is the one I know best. It may indeed 
constitute a biasing factor which needs to be discounted, but 
it affords also the firsthand evidence which is the basis of any 
authority I may claim as an explorer in this field. It gives 
support to my central thesis that certain forms of mental disorder 
and certain forms of religious experience are closely interrelated 
Mental disorder is, 1 hold, the price humanity has to pay fo] 
having the power of choice and the capacity for growth, and iij 
some of its forms it is a manifestation of healing power analogouf 
to fever or inflammation in the body. 

That this record centers in a love story is explained by the 
fact that I could not offer an adequate interpretation of the 
experiences under consideration without taking into account 
the part played by the beloved friend to whose memory my 
Exploration of the Inner World is dedicated. In many ways that 


story is a tragedy. She died too soon and we cannot have the 
benefit of the light she might have thrown upon this record. 
But she did agree that this story, which is hers as well as mine, 
should be shared with others. I offer it with the deepening 
conviction that it gives evidence of the guiding hand of an 
Intelligence beyond our own. 

Elgin, Illinois 
July i, 1960 


First of all and above all, this book owes its existence to Fred East- 
man, sometime professor in the Chicago Theological Seminary, who 
not only preserved the documents upon which it is based but also 
helped to preserve the author himself and enable him to pull 
through the trying experience with which it deals. 

The writer is also deeply indebted to the Rt. Rev. Norman B. 
Nash, who was the first to open the door into the new field of work 
with which this book deals and who through the years has been a 
stanch supporter of the movement for the clinical training of stu- 
dents for the ministry. 

Both these men have read the manuscript, offering valuable sug- 
gestions, and they have helped to overcome the hesitation which the 
author has felt regarding its publication. 

To the Chicago Theological Seminary and to its former presi- 
dent, Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Jr., I am indebted for their sup- 
port over many years of an undertaking about which at first they had 
many misgivings; also to the Elgin State Hospital for opening its 
doors to me and to my students. My indebtedness extends to un- 
numbered others, among whom I think especially of Francis Mc- 
Peek and Mrs. Marjorie Peters Bower, both of whom have had 
an important part in the making of this book. 

In the decision to publish it, I have been guided by the hope 
that it may help to throw light upon the profounder straggles of 
the human soul, and lead the way toward further exploration. 

A. T. B. 






so FAR AS i CAN DISCOVER, our family record is relatively free 
from abnormalities such as those with which this study deals. 
Nonetheless, the social background is important in any attempt 
to understand a person. I shall therefore begin with a brief 
consideration of my ancestors and their social setting. 

Concerning the family of my father, Hermann B. Boisen, 
I know only a little. His father, Johannes P. O. Boisen, be- 
longed to a German-speaking family in the province of Schles- 
wig. His father's father was an organist and music teacher. In 
the difficulties between Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark in 
the 1860^, Grandfather Boisen favored German intervention. 
He was apparently a man of standing and influence. Following 
German occupation, he was appointed Amtsrichter in the Island 
of Alsen. Before that time the family lived in Flensburg. About 
the time my father was approaching the completion of his work 
for the doctorate at the University of Wuerzburg his father met 
with serious financial reverses. He died when past seventy. He 
was a tall, heavy-set man, some six feet four inches in height 
and weighing about two hundred and fifty pounds. 

My father's mother, Marie Andersen Boisen, also belonged 
to a German-speaking family in Schleswig. She was the daughter 



of a Lutheran pastor. My father always spoke of her with the 
greatest respect and tenderness as a wise and devoted mother 
and a capable manager. She lived to be past eighty. Besides my 
father there were four other children who lived to maturity. 
Three of these died of tuberculosis. This was probably owing 
to the fact that they had lived in an old stone castle on the 
Island of Alsen, a building with massive, damp walls. The only 
surviving members of the family are now living in the city of 
Oldenburg, having been compelled to leave Schleswig after 
that province reverted to Denmark. I have never seen any of my 
German relatives, but we keep in touch with each other by cor- 

My father came to this country in April, 1869. Unable to 
complete his doctorate because of his father's financial situation, 
he felt that there would be less red tape to contend with in 
the New World. He went first to the home of some relatives 
in St. Paul. From there he went to Belleville, Indiana. There 
his genius as a teacher attracted instant attention, and in the 
late fall of 1870, on the recommendation of some members of 
the De Pauw University faculty and after a visit by Professor 
Richard Owen, he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the chair 
of modern languages at Indiana University. 

The maternal ancestors of my mother, Louise Wylie Boisen, 
came from England in the seventeenth century and settled in 
New Jersey. Her great-grandfather, John Dennis, was a wealthy 
New Brunswick merchant who, during the War of the Revo- 
lution, served as treasurer of the province of New Jersey. His 
son, Richard, her grandfather and my great-grandfather, was 
a Philadelphia merchant who made and lost three considerable 
fortunes. During the War of 1812 he commanded the Sixteenth 
Infantry. Richard Dennis was married three times. His third 


marriage was to Susanna Salter Smith, whom he met when they 
were both having their portraits painted by Rembrandt Peale. 
She was fifteen at the time, he thirty-six. His father disap- 
proved but wrote expressing the hope that "the new spouse 
might prove a durable blessing/* Eleven children were bom to 
this marriage, eight of whom lived to the age of seventy-five or 
more. My grandmother, Rebecca Dennis Wylie, was one of 
these. She was born in Germantown just across the street from 
the old Chew House, which we used to see pictured in our 
American history books. 

My mother's paternal grandfather, my great-grandfather, was 
Samuel Brown Wylie, who came to Philadelphia in 1797 from 
the North of Ireland, where, as a young man, he had been in- 
volved in political difficulties. In 1803 he became pastor of the 
newly organized Reformed Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. 
This pastorate he held until his death in 1852,. In addition to 
serving as pastor of this church, which became a large and 
influential one, he conducted a classical school for boys. He also 
conducted a theological school for the Reformed Presbyterian 
Church. In 1828 he became professor of Latin and Greek and 
the Oriental languages at the University of Pennsylvania. That 
position he held for twenty years. During the last ten years he 
was vice-provost of the University. He is described as a vigorous 
man and a prodigious worker. According to family tradition he 
was accustomed to take only four hours sleep out of the twenty- 
four, getting up at two or three o'clock in the morning in 
order to study undisturbed. He ruled his household with a rod 
of iron. By that I do not mean that he was harsh or stern. His 
writings 1 and letters show him to have been affectionate and 

i C. his Life of Alexander McLeod (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 


gifted in the expression of his feelings. He was both loved and 
feared, and he struck awe into the hearts of his sons and of 
other boys as well. He had a reputation for understanding boys 
and knowing how to deal with difficult cases. 

His wife, Margaret Watson Wylie, my great-grandmother, 
was a gentle, devoted woman. She came from Pittsburgh, where 
her father owned a farm which is now in the heart of that 
city. This Pittsburgh property made her husband's household 
economically secure. She lived to the good old age of ninety. 

There were five children in her household: Theophilus, my 
grandfather, who was born in 1810; Theodorus, some years 
younger, who in 1843 became co-pastor of his father's church 
and continued as pastor until his death in 1898; and three 
daughters. Two of the daughters married Reformed Presby- 
terian clergymen. The other daughter, Elizabeth Louise, who 
died at the age of sixteen, was a close friend of my grandmother, 
Rebecca Dennis, It was through her that she and my grandfather 
met and for her that my mother was named. 

As a boy, Theophilus Wylie attended his father s classical 
school. He is said to have read two books of Caesar by the time 
he was eight years old. Certainly he was almost as much at home 
in Latin as in English. He was also an able Greek scholar. His 
college work was done at the University of Pennsylvania. His 
major interests were in the sciences. He was also interested in 
painting and had dreams of becoming an artist. His father, how- 
ever, wanted him to study for the ministry. As a dutiful son he 
yielded to his father's wishes. It was a great relief to him when 
his father finally decided in favor of his becoming a teacher. In 
1837 ke went out to th e wilds of Indiana to join the faculty of 
the state university in Bloomington, of which Andrew Wylie, a 
nephew of his father, was president. He had been given the 


choice of the chair of 'pure mathematics" or that of "mixed 
mathematics/' He had chosen the former and had spent several 
months brushing up on his algebra and geometry and calculus, 
when word came that he had been appointed to the chair of 
mixed mathematics. This, being interpreted, meant physics, 
chemistry, geology, and natural history. He stayed on at Indiana 
until his retirement in 1886. With the exception of a period of 
two and a half years during which he taught at Miami Uni- 
versity in Oxford, Ohio (1852-54), he was thus in continuous 
active service at Indiana University for forty-six and a half years. 
His special field was natural philosophy, but at one time or 
another he taught almost every course in the curriculum ex- 
cept moral philosophy. He was a really good teacher and a 
thorough scholar. In addition to his teaching he served for many 
years as librarian of the University, and for thirty years he was 
pastor of the New Side Reformed Presbyterian Church, one of 
the four psalm-singing Presbyterian churches in Bloomington 
during the middle of the nineteenth century. 

In 1838, after the year's probation upon which he had in- 
sisted, Theophilus Wylie returned to Philadelphia to marry 
Rebecca Dennis and take her back with him to Bloomington. It 
required two weeks to make the trip. They traveled part way 
by rail, part way by stagecoach, part way by canal boat to Pitts- 
burgh, then by boat down the Ohio to Louisville, and thence 
by stage to Bloomington. My mother, bom in Bloomington in 
1839, was their oldest child. My grandfather wanted to name 
her "Erasmia" after his favorite philosopher, but my grand- 
mother rebelled. They agreed on "Louise/' There were five other 
children who lived to maturity, one sister and four brothers. 
One of the brothers lost his life in the Civil War. Another 
died of tuberculosis. 


In 1859 my grandfather bought the large brick house on 
East Second Street, in Bloomington, built in 1833 ky ^* s 
cousin, President Andrew Wylie. Here the family lived until 
iny grandmother's death in 1913 at the age of one hundred and 
one years. This house is now owned by the University and 
plans are under way to restore it. 

My mother, who died in 1930 at the age of ninety-one, got 
her schooling in Bloomington at the "Female Seminary" which 
was conducted by Mrs. E. J. McFerson, 2 a sister of Professor 
Daniel Read of the University. In 1852, when the family 
moved to Oxford, Ohio, she enrolled in Professor Scott's school 
for girls. About the same time Mrs. McFerson moved her Fe- 
male Seminary to Glendale, Ohio. My mother joined her there 
as a student and later taught in that school. It may be of interest 
to note that at Oxford her music teacher was Dr. Scott's 
daughter, Carrie, who married Benjamin Harrison, and that at 
Glendale her bosom friend was Mrs. McFerson's daughter, 
Parke, who married John W. Foster, the man who in later years 
became Harrison's secretary of state. My mother was one of 
the first women to enroll at Indiana University. After her gradu- 
ation in 1871 she taught at the University of Missouri, of which 
Daniel Read was at that time president. She left at the end of 
her first year to be married to her teacher of modern languages 
at Indiana University. I entered the world in 1876 as their first 

2 J. A. Woodbum, History of Indiana University, 1820-1902 (Bloomington ; 
Indiana University Piess, 1940), p. 131. 




MY EARLIEST RECOLLECTIONS date from about the age of two 
and a half years, I can recall somewhat hazily a piece of bread 
and butter and sugar, a red dress, and a stove. I was inside the 
dress, attempting to get outside of the bread and butter, and 
I sat down on the hearth of the stove. The dress caught fire 
and the scene was burned into my memory. This happened in 
the Maxwell house at the corner of College Avenue and Fourth 
Street in Bloomington, Indiana. This house, as I recall it, was 
an L-shaped building two stories high on the Fourth Street 
side, which we occupied. On the College Avenue side was the 
one-story office of old Dr. James Darwin Maxwell, son of Dr. 
David H. Maxwell, who is generally recognized as the founder 
of Indiana University. At this time Bloomington was a town of 
perhaps twenty-five hundred. Its sidewalks consisted chiefly of 
flagstones and its streets were mostly of red clay, macadamized 
here and there with broken limestone. The University, where 
my father and my grandfather taught, occupied at that time a 
ten-acre tract at the south end of College Avenue two blocks 
from the Maxwell house. 

From about the same period comes another memory, this 
time of Dr. Maxwell's office. I went in with my father and we 


waited until a big man came in and took a seat. Young Dr. 
James D. Maxwell did something to him. Then he did some- 
thing to me that hurt. I learned later that I had been vaccinated 
and that the big man was Professor David Starr Jordan, a 
friend of my father s, and that, according to the approved pro- 
cedure of those days, the doctor got from him the serum which 
he rubbed into my arm. 

I can recall also a cane, a black cane with a white handle, of 
which I was very proud, and a visit to my grandparents in the 
big house on Second Street, Some cousins from Dakota were 
visiting there and five-year-old Dick, the youngest, who was 
two years my senior, was much interested in my cane. He of- 
fered to show me a trick with it Immediately I consented. He 
then took the cane, placed it between two sticks of wood and 
brought an ax down upon it, explaining that canes were "dude 
stuff" and that they were not tolerated among he-men. 

My sister, Marie, now Mrs. Morton Clark Bradley, was born 
in 1879, when I was two years and eleven months old, while 
we were living on North Walnut Street between Seventh and 
Eighth Streets. My memories of that event center around the 
fact that I was taken to a neighbor's, the Fees, and that I was 
not permitted to go home. However, I was given some fresh- 
baked gingersnaps, and I was well content. 

My earliest memories of my mother are of her singing. She 
had had excellent training in music, having studied, among 
others, with Mme Rive of Cincinnati. She was a good pianist 
and had a sweet contralto voice, singing either soprano or alto. 
Music was an important part of my father s plan of education, 
and he was particularly fond of some of the fine old German 
hymns and folk songs. He was not a singer himself, but he loved 
having my mother sing them for us. She was very fond of 


Stephen Foster, but his songs did not make much of an im- 
pression upon me in the early years. Mother was gentle and re- 
tiring. Throughout her dealings with me she relied on persuasion 
rather than compulsion. She made me feel bad when I did not 
do as I ought to do. 

My father was the dominant member of the household. He 
was always full of life and full of ideas, interested in everything 
that went on. His was a contagious enthusiasm which carried 
others along with him. He was a great lover of nature, of trees 
and shrubs and flowers, and he took great interest in teaching 
me the names of the trees. It was he who did the landscaping 
at the old home, and in addition to modern languages he also 
taught botany at the University. 

I remember him as a tall man with a full beard who took 
time to do things for me and with me. On occasion he would 
punish. He could be stern but he was always kind. On two 
occasions which I can recall, the offense was lying. I do not 
remember what it was about, but I do remember his explaining 
very carefully why I was being punished and how many blows 
I was to receive. He always set a maximum and a minimum, 
the minimum being employed if I refrained from crying. He 
was always careful to make it clear that there was no change in 
his love for me and that the punishment was not arbitrary but 
a necessary consequence of what I had done. 

There came a time not long after my sister's birth when I 
missed my father. I learned later that he had resigned in the 
middle of the school year of 1879-80 because of the dismissal 
of a colleague. He felt that serious injustice had been done. He 
therefore submitted his resignation and left the University, with 
nothing in view but selling books. 

It seems that on other occasions he acted impulsively. Once 


when a group of students had disappointed him in some signal 
way, he was seized with despair, felt that he had failed as a 
teacher, and got on a train and left town. After several days 
he returned quietly and took his place in the classroom. 

On another occasion the professor of English made a brilliant 
speech before some university gathering. Unfortunately it fol- 
lowed almost word for word a speech by some other man, which 
my father had happened to read. My father was not one who 
could tolerate dishonesty and he blurted out his discovery in 
faculty meeting. He thus brought a good deal of trouble upon 
himself as well as upon the offending colleague. 

After several discouraging months my father was fortunate 
enough to be appointed to a vacancy in Williams College in 
Massachusetts with the understanding that if he made good, the 
appointment would be permanent. Therefore we moved to 
Williamstown. There he continued to spend a good deal of his 
leisure time teaching me to distinguish the different kinds of 
trees by means of leaves and bark. He also took us out fre- 
quendy to enjoy the mountain scenery. 

Shortly after I had passed my fourth birthday, while we were 
living in Williamstown, I had the experience of being circum- 
cized. Quite spontaneously, it seemed, there had developed a 
sex-organ excitation which seemed beyond the normal. I can 
recall my parents* anxious concern and the consultation with 
the doctor. He was sure it was due to local irritation, and the 
operation was performed. As a matter of fact, the trouble lay 
in a more than average interest in matters eliminative and 
sexual. I may add that I do not remember ever overhearing or 
seeing anything in the behavior either of adults or of other 
children which might explain it. Since it was thus primarily 
psychical, the treatment failed to correct it. The following sum- 


mer, while at the home of my grandparents in Bloornington, 
this interest led to some mutual explorations with a boy cousin 
about a year younger. We were promptly caught and my mouth 
was washed out with soap and water. This treatment seems 
to have put an end to the trend for the time being. The horror 
on my mother's face and her volunteered promise that she would 
not tell my father are impressions which still remain. 

With the end of that year there came a bitter disappointment. 
There was a change of administration at Williams College. 
My father's appointment was not made permanent and we had 
to return to Bloomington. That he had made good seems abun- 
dantly clear. One of his students at Williams, Starr Willard 
Cutting, subsequently head of the German Department at the 
University of Chicago, told me years later that he considered 
my father one of the most gifted teachers he had ever known 
and David Starr Jordan had recommended him "without hesi- 
tation'' as the most effective teacher of languages he had ever 
known. But the new president wanted a faculty of Ph.D/s, and 
my father did not have that degree. 

Following the disappointment at Williams, my father taught 
for two years in the public schools of Boston. There he pre- 
pared two textbooks, his First Course in German and his German 
Prose. He also did outstanding work as a teacher, attracting the 
attention of such educators as Colonel Francis Parker and Wil- 
liam T. Harris, the U.S. Commissioner of Education. By the 
end of the first year he was able to bring us to Martha's Vine- 
yard, where he taught in the Summer Institute. In the fall of 
1882 we moved to Cambridge. There we lived on Broadway, 
near Inman Street, not far from Harvard University. I was at 
that time six years of age, and I had the benefit of some good 
kindergarten instruction. 


The next year, 1883, my father received a call from the newly 
organized Lawrenceville School near Princeton, New Jersey. 
We were all very happy over this. It brought us near my 
mother's ancestral home in Philadelphia, where her uncle, my 
grandfather's brother Theodorus, was a leading pastor; and the 
salary of $3,600 a year was, for those days, relatively high. My 
father felt that he had found just the right opening, 

According to the plan of the school each master had his own 
family of boys. They all lived together under one roof, begin- 
ning each morning with prayers, eating together in the common 
dining room, and closing the day with prayers. My father re- 
joiced in the many opportunities thus afforded to get acquainted 
with his boys in Davis House, which had been assigned to us. 

At Lawrenceville he continued his efforts to help me be- 
come acquainted with the trees. He also took me frequently to 
the gymnasium and sought to teach me to perform certain simple 

I recall in particular one occasion when I went with him and 
several of the boys on a hike. We were to search for trailing 
arbutus, which was reported as growing nearby. This was his 
favorite flower, and he promised me a silver dollar for the first 
leaf I found. It was a long hike, some ten or twelve miles as 
I recall it. I came through without the dollar, but with enough 
energy left to demand inclusion in a drive he was making to 
Trenton. When he refused, I set up a loud wail. His response 
was to put me in a dress and give me a doll to play with. This 
he did somewhat playfully, saying that boys of seven who 
could go on long hikes were too big to cry. My recollection is 
that I at once stopped crying and the dress was promptly re- 
moved. I caught his spirit, and felt that he was perhaps proud 
of the fact that I had gone through with the hike, 

My father always worked under tension, very high tension, 


and he had both the strengths and the weaknesses which go 
with such a temperament. In any case, at the age of thirty-eight 
he burned himself out, dying of heart failure on January 16, 

There had been two previous attacks, one the year before, 
another several weeks before; but apparently the gravity of the 
situation was not recognized. The end came about seven o'clock 
in the evening just after my sister and I had gone to bed. All 
was over in a few minutes. I can remember the excitement, then 
the quiet, and my mother s gentle sobbing. She took It bravely; 
but she did little with her music afterward. 

My father thus died -when I was only three months past my 
seventh birthday, but his memory, reinforced by my mother s 
picture of him and that of others who knew him, has remained 
a potent force in my life, one which for me has been associated 
with my idea of God, 

Memorial services were held for him in Lawrenceville and in 
Bloomington. At Indiana University the address was given by 
David Starr Jordan. 1 This address has been of particular im- 
portance to me. I give it in full: 

"Think of me always at my best, Davy" was the last request of 
Steerforth to David Copperfield. And to-day, as we meet to do honor 
to the memory of Professor Boisen, it behooves us to cast aside all 
other recollections and to think of him only at his best, for men of 
genius have ever their ebb and flow. All such memories we shall lay 
aside forever. For at his best what a man he was! So broad, so fine, 
so tender, so intense. A teacher who inspired all with whom he came 
in contact; who touched everything with life and made even the 
vagaries of the German article a thing of beauty and of light. A 
linguist to whom all languages and all literatures caine as a natural 
inheritance, who rejoiced alike in the misty dreams of the stormy 
Northmen, the homely life of the Plattdeutscher, and the polished 

i Indiana Student, February, 1884 (c. Woodburn, op. tit., pp. 355-5^). 


imagery of the Greeks; a lover of nature whose knowledge of trees 
and plants and flowers was the envy of professional botanists; one 
who saw everything in nature and had a heart open to all sweet in- 
fluences of flower and bird and sky; a man of boundless energy who 
threw into the most trifling duty the full strength of his mighty 
soul. Thus sometimes his work seemed like that of a mighty engine 
fastened to a common cart, for he never did all that he could have 
done either as a teacher or a writer. The time had not yet come 
when the world could put him to its highest use. 

My pleasantest memories of Professor Boisen are associated with 
his love of nature and his fine appreciation of German literature, 
German life, German history and German scenery. He could speak 
of each of these in a strain of vigor and of poetry such as one rarely 
hears. He once laid out a tramp for us through Holstein and Thurin- 
gia and was never weary of telling us of the beautiful things we 
should see on the road, the rocks and lakes and glens and castles, the 
Inselberg, the Liebenstein, and the forest-hidden Ukleisee, which, 
alas, we shall never see with his eyes. 

When I first visited this city five years ago, Professor Boisen, as 
the highest courtesy he could show me, took me out in his carriage to 
see the treasure of Bloomington. It Is a steep hill-side, covered with 
trees and carpeted with a flower seldom seen in the west, the trailing 
arbutus, the may-flower of our Pilgrim fathers. 

I never had a more delightful companion. Never was I with one 
who saw more or better. Every bush was to him an old friend. Every 
leaf he knew. Every bud was to him the promise of an opening 
flower and to see a flower in the early spring a thing worth living for. 

To me the woods and glens around Bloomington are full of memo- 
ries of him and with the arbutus-covered hill-side his name should 
be forever associated. 


Following my father's death we returned to Grandfather 
Wylie's home in Indiana. For my grandparents this was the 
beginning of a very trying period. In 1885, the year following 
our return, there came a change of administration in the Uni- 


versity. David Starr Jordan took over. At that time thirty-four 
years of age, he had already won world-wide recognition as an 
authority on fishes and he was soon to be recognized as one of 
America's really great university presidents. He wanted a faculty 
of young specialists and a university in which the student would 
have a chance to participate in actual research while still an 
undergraduate. 2 This meant change, and my grandfather was 
the outstanding representative of the old order that had to go. 
His desire to round out fifty years of service was therefore not 
honored and he was retired at the end of his forty-ninth year 
of teaching. 

To make the situation worse, Uncle Brown Wylie, his son, 
my mother's brother, who had stepped into the position of 
assistant in chemistry without having obtained his doctorate, had 
just been relieved of his office. 

Meanwhile Mother had taken a position in the Bloomington 
city schools as teacher of drawing in order that we might not be 
wholly dependent upon her parents. This teaching, together 
with housework and the care of a considerable flower and vege- 
table garden, was a heavy drain upon her time and strength. 

Throughout this period the household was run by my grand- 
mother with the help of our Negro cook, Lizzie Breckenridge, 
who served our family nearly fifty years. 

My grandmother was a cheery, confident, practical person. 
She was never much interested in books, but all the family 
came to her with their aches and pains and cuts and bruises. 
We considered her to be as good as a doctor. She was, as I 
remember her, a charming hostess, witty and tactful and resource- 
ful. I do not recall ever seeing her sick except as she faded 
away toward the end of her one hundred and one years. 

Lizzie came of a family of slaves who had been freed before 

2 Woodburn, op. tit., p. 375. 


the Civil War, Their presence in Bloomington was due to the 
Covenanter sympathy with the Negroes and she herself was 
a devout member of the Old Side Covenanter Church on South 
Walnut Street. She was a student of the stars, a study to which 
my grandfather had introduced her. She knew all the principal 
constellations and all the brighter stars, and no comet ever 
escaped her attention. A finer spirit there never was. We all 
looked upon her as one of the family* 

Looking back over this period, the picture of my grandfather 
occupies always an important place. In the earlier years I see 
him at his desk upstairs, toiling over the history of the University, 
which, with a small honorarium, had been assigned to him in 
lieu of a pension. He was slightly below average in height, 
brisk in his movements, always neatly dressed, to the end of 
his days relying upon his Philadelphia tailor for his clothing. 
He was an orderly person, keeping his papers neatly filed and 
his books carefully arranged. He would sometimes get mildly 
irritated if I misplaced his woodworking or drawing instruments, 
but he encouraged me to use them, and he was never too busy 
to help me with a problem in mathematics or a passage in Latin. 
I do not remember at any time any disagreements between him 
and my grandmother. She ran the household, and he did not 
interfere. But he was its head. We all recognized that. 

My schooling, as may be inferred, was considerably delayed. 
I had been held back by reason of the transfer from Lawrence- 
ville, and I was still further delayed because of an injury to my 
left eye, which occurred shortly before my eighth birthday in 

I can remember quite well how it happened. At dinner that 
day the conversation had turned to the reaction of winking. My 
grandfather spoke of its protective function, and I left the 


table, curious about it all, and went to the front yard. There 
I began to swing on a gate underneath a large pear tree full of 
ripening pears. Two boys came along and demanded some pears. 
I refused. Thereupon one of them aimed a toy gun at me, one 
of the type that carried a rubber contraption on a wooden stock. 
Half curiously, half defiantly, I resolved not to wink. He 
banged away, and I was struck by an iron nail directly in the 
pupil of the eye. The eyelid was not touched. 

Expert care for such an injury was hard to find at that time 
in southern Indiana, but it so happened that one of my 
grandfathers former students had become a distinguished ocu- 
list. This man, Dr. Williams, lived in Cincinnati, and my grand- 
father wrote to him. He did this the more confidently in that 
Dr. Williams in his student days had been the central figure in 
a heated controversy and my grandfather had championed 
him. It seems that the faculty was having a party one evening 
at the home of Dr. James F. Dodds, and the president, in ac- 
cordance with the custom on rainy days in that period, took off 
his boots and left them just outside the door. A group of stu- 
dents on the prowl spied those boots, placed them on a pole 
and executed a dance around them. This was regarded by a 
majority of the faculty as a serious affront, and an apology was 
demanded. Two of the students, one of them the future oculist, 
refused to apologize and were expelled. They went then to As- 
bury University, or De Pauw, as it is now called. 3 It was to this 
man that I was sent in care of my grandmother. He was not able 

3 Woodbura, op. cit. p. 12,9, reports an exodus from Asbtuy to Indiana in 
1855, but be makes no mention ot tbis incident. For tbis reason ne misses tbe 
point of T. A. Wylie's notation on tbe margin of tbe faculty record-book 
tbat tbe Indiana faculty's action in receiving tbe recalcitrant students was 
prompted by "a litde spirit of revenge." One of tbe students involved in tbe 
exodus from Asbury was Robert R. Hitt, kter a distinguished congressman 
from Illinois. 


to save the sight of the eye. Its loss may have had an adverse 
effect upon my skill on the ballfield and the tennis court, but I 
have not been aware of the difference. 

The visit to Cincinnati, the brief sojourn in Dr. Williams's 
palatial home in the Walnut Hills section overlooking the river, 
and the three-week sojourn in Newport in the home of an aunt 
by marriage and her mother, Mrs. James Thompson, I can 
remember very well. The latter was a cousin of Professor Na- 
thaniel Shaler, the geologist, whose mother lived just across the 

For the remainder of the preschool period my memory is 
hazy. As nearly as I can recall, I spent much of my time playing 
with my blocks, daubing paint over Kate Greenaway girls, and 
drawing pictures of railway trains and engines. Even before I 
could read I took great delight in St. Nicholas, with its stories 
and pictures, Swiss Family Robinson was my favorite book. 

So it came to pass that I was well past my eighth birthday at 
the time I entered the first grade at midyear. However, I had 
had some instruction from my father earlier, and school was easy 
for me. I was soon promoted to the second grade. Later on I 
skipped the fifth grade. Usually I ranked first or second in the 
class, a fact of which I was somewhat ashamed. At least in the 
higher grades I sensed the fact that the other boys did not ap- 
prove of scholastic proficiency. 

My sister, who has been an important factor in my life, was 
an extremely bright and active youngster with a keen sense of 
humor. At the age of eight she started writing verses, some of 
which were very clever. In that same year, 1887, she established 
a record in an intelligence test given in the city schools. This 
test consisted of a series of errors which the pupils were to cor- 
rect. My sister, then in the third grade, made a perfect score 


and was the only one in all eight grades who made a perfect 
score. William Lowe Bryan, a pioneer in intelligence testing 
and later president of Indiana University, who gave the test, has 
told me many times of her performance. He was quite im- 
pressed by it. With all her brilliance she was at the same time an 
outgoing, attractive child, unusually free from malicious tend- 
encies, and I cannot recall any clashes between us, except per- 
haps for a good-natured joke at my expense. 

With the exception of two or three friends I do not recall 
having had much to do with other youngsters outside of the 
home circle until my eleventh year. I then became a more or less 
regular member of the gang made up mostly from the "gown" 
element in that college town. I played on their baseball and 
football teams, but I was no shining light 

It may be of interest to note that the real leader of our gang, 
Oscar Perry, was never so recognized. Oscar was a capable, at- 
tractive fellow, fertile in ideas, well-supplied with self-confidence 
and really skillful in the various sports. Most of our meetings 
were held in his father s bam. In spite of these qualifications, he 
was never elected captain either of the baseball or football teams. 
For this his undersized twin brother was chiefly responsible. He 
electioneered against him. His usual argument was this: "You 
know, Oscar would kinda like to be captain. But really it would 
not be good for him. He's too stuck on himself already/' That 
argument always carried. But Oscar took it in good part. Later 
on, in college, he was elected captain of the varsity football 
team. He became a very successful mining engineer. 

One thing I did not do was to study music. Mother could 
have taught me to play the piano, but I was not interested. 
Music was frowned on by our gang as being "girls' business," 
and Mother did not believe in bringing pressure to bear. 


The name I went hy among the gang was "Fessor ." There 
was nothing distinctive about this. I was called "Fessor ' for 
the same reason the doctor's son was called "Doc." During this 
period I was rather shy and distrustful of myself. I was fond of 
books, fond also of working with tools. After school I usually 
went home rather than off with the others. 1 had chores to do, 
wood to split and carry up, the garden to care for and the chick- 
ens to feed. And there were many interesting things to do, es- 
pecially in my grandfather s workshop. 

In the matter of religion I was brought up rather strictly. My 
grandfather was a faithful Scotch-Irish Covenanter. Every Sun- 
day morning, regardless of weather, he made his way to church 
and sat in the family pew, two seats from the front, and we all 
went with him. Until my ninth year, we went to the United 
Presbyterian Church. But in 1885 the old Wylie Memorial 
Church in Philadelphia joined the Philadelphia Presbytery, 
and my grandfather, as a matter of family loyalty, put in his 
letter with the Presbyterian church which is "neither Reformed 
nor United/' The family church in Philadelphia had been in- 
dependent since 1869 in consequence of the Synod's action 
in excommunicating its leading layman, Mr. George H. Stuart, 
for the "sin of occasional hearing/' By that is meant visiting 
other churches and joining with their congregations in singing 
other hymns than the Psalms of David, a practice he had be- 
gun while serving as president of the Christian Commission 
during the Civil War, 4 and had refused to discontinue. 

This transfer did not, however, mean any change in our be- 

4 The Christian Commission during the Civil Wai was an interchurch or- 
ganization corresponding somewhat to the Young Men's Christian Association 
of World War L For a consideration of the psalm-singing Preshyterians see ray 
Religion in Crisis and Custom (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955), chap, 
ii; also my "Divided Protestantism in a Midwest County/* Journal of Re- 
ligion, Vol. 20: No. 4, October, 1940, 359-81. 


liefs and practices. Family prayers were held every morning and 
every evening, and on Sundays we were not supposed to do any 
whistling or any reading except that which was definitely re- 
ligious. With all his strictness in these matters, my grandfather 
was a gentle and kindly man with considerable breadth of view, 
and none of us resented his requirements. 


Six years after we had returned to the old home our house- 
hold was considerably enlarged. Uncle Brown Wylie died, leav- 
ing four minor children, and the three youngest came to live 
with their grandparents. This was no light responsibility for a 
woman of seventy-eight, but my grandmother accepted it with 
her characteristic cheerfulness. 

I was at this time in the first year of high school Although 
fourteen years old I was still in knickerbockers, but it was not 
long before I began to aspire to the dignity of long trousers. 
Mother gently opposed this idea. She did not want me to grow 
up too rapidly. In the resulting difference of opinion my grand- 
mother suggested a compromise. Why not "halfway long pants"? 
Her suggestion was not followed, but I have long looked upon 
it as furnishing an appropriate symbol for this particular period, 
at least in my own life. 

At this rime I took myself with extreme seriousness and I suf- 
fered tortures in consequence. When finally I did don the 
coveted symbol of manhood a garment which did actually be- 
fore many months find its way above my shoe-tops my frivo- 
lous young sister celebrated the occasion with some scurrilous 
verses which caused me to writhe with wounded dignity. All the 
way through high school the changes and adjustments incidental 
to growth were attended with like discomforts. 


I am not sure that it would be correct to speak of any scho- 
lastic aspirations during this period, for I was halting between 
two opinions. On the one hand was the opinion of the "bunch" 
that it was not good form to get marks that were too high. On 
the other hand was a desire to excel in a field in which I was 
best adapted. Actually I did neither the one nor the other. I 
stood second at the end o my senior year in high school My 
favorite study at this time was mathematics. This was not be- 
cause of any unusual ability along that line. In die grades I used 
to hate arithmetic. But it so happened that by dint of much 
effort I succeeded on several occasions in solving problems that 
no one else in the class had solved. The words of commendation 
which I received on these occasions were pleasing to my ears and 
I began to get interested in algebra. In geometry I was still more 
interested. But English I hated. At least, I did not like to write, 
and English literature was for me a vague and tedious thing. I 
did like grammar. In Latin I was only fair, owing largely to the 
fact that I used to go to my grandfather for help, and thus I 
failed to develop any proficiency of my own. 

It was chiefly in my social^ relations that I had difficulty. In 
the grades I had been shy ancl distrustful of mvelf, more at 
home with my books or in the workshopTEan with ray school- 
mates. This tendency became accentuated in high school. On 
Friday afternoons, the period which in those days was reserved 
for declamations and speeches, I suffered severely from stage 
fright. Even in the classroom I had spasms of timidity. Also 
among other boys I felt insecure. I found my greatest satisfaction 
in the companionship of a few friends. During my first year in 
high school and part of my second year, my special chum was 
the son of one of the college professors. He lived on the opposite 
side of the town, but I spent a good bit of time at his house, 


and he at mine. We made expeditions together out into the 
country in search of butterflies or hickory nuts or whatever the 
season offered. We went together to baseball and football games 
and we experimented in woodworking. I do not recall that we 
discussed girls or sex matters except incidentally. 

During the second year in high school the stamp-collecting 
craze struck town. That was in 1891-92. In Bloomington no 
one had collected stamps before, and we had a glorious time 
ransacking attics. One great find was in the attic of an old 
foundry where rifles had been made for the Union Army dur- 
ing the Civil War. Here we found stamps of large denominations 
in great abundance. One of our group came from a mis- 
sionary family. His parents had lived in China twenty-five or 
thirty years before and had a store of valuable stamps. I had 
our attic where my grandfather had carefully filed away his old 
letters, envelopes and all, going back before the time stamps 
were first introduced. Into this enterprise I was initiated by this 
friend of mine, who had already become familiar with the game. 
Early in my searches I chanced upon a valuable stamp, a United 
States three-cent stamp of the 1840'$ made from an unusual 
die. My friend suggested a trade. I consented, and traded to him 
a stamp listed at fifteen dollars for one listed at fifteen cents, 
When I discovered what had happened I took it rather hard. 

During this period I became much interested in physical 
culture. I invested in a pair of dumbbells. I made a pair of In- 
dian clubs on my grandfather's turning lathe, and spent hours 
twirling them; I would take deep breaths and raise myself up 
and down on my toes; I would go to the quarry near our home 
and throw stones by the hundred. During my second year in 
high school we were given the privilege of using the University 
gymnasium three times a week. Of this I availed myself to the 


full I never became proficient on the diamond or the gridiron, 
but I was at least above average in strength. 

With girls I was ill at ease. I did not learn to dance. This was 
not due to religious scruples, but rather to the fact that my 
closest friends did not dance. With my sister s friends I had few 
dealings. They were only "kids/' not yet in their teens. 

Concerning sexual problems my memories of the high school 
period merge into those of later years. It is only necessary at this 
point to say that there was plenty of stress and that the "facts 
of life" were explained to me somewhat belatedly by a book 
mother gave me, telling what adolescent boys ought to know. I 
also did some surreptitious exploration of my own in Rees's En- 
cyclopedia and in some medical books. The trouble was not in 
lack of knowledge. I knew enough. In fact the information thus 
obtained became itself a source of difficulty. It remained some- 
thing fascinating and terrifying about which I was afraid to talk. 
I know that serious difficulty began at this time, but it is difficult 
for me to separate this period from that of later adolescence in 
which I shall consider it more in detail. 

I was a regular attendant at the Presbyterian church, to which 
our family belonged. Attendance at this church was made easier 
by the fact that most of our "crowd" also belonged there. Dr. 
George N. Luccock was at that time the pastor, and President 
John Merle Coulter of the University and his family were regular 
attendants. During my second year in high school the evan- 
gelist, Wilbur Chapman, held a series of meetings in Blooming- 
ton, and along with four or five others of our group I joined the 
church. Although taken under revivalistic influences, this step 
involved no special religious experience. I assented at once when 
asked, waiting only to be sure that I was really eligible. I also 
joined the Christian Endeavor Society, and on Sunday evenings 


in great distress of mind I would read a verse of scripture or 
some pious sentiment, as the pledge required. There were at no 
time any intellectual difficulties. The faith of my fathers was, 
for me, at one with the authority of science. 

In the warfare between science and religion which waged so 
furiously during the later nineteenth century, my grandfather 
may have been on the conservative side. If so, he made no issue 
of it. I know that he accepted the scientific account of the age 
of the earth. I do not know his attitude on the theory of evolu- 
tion. Apparently he did not permit his scientific views to inter- 
fere with his loyalty to his church. My father, however, had not 
been able to accept Bloomington's brand of Presbyterianism. 
Later on he had joined the Congregational church and on that 
occasion he wrote out a statement of belief which shows that he 
was a thoroughgoing liberal. This I knew from my mother, who 
rather early in her life had accepted the liberal position. My OWTT^ 
problems were therefore not theological. They had to do with mv 
inner adjustments. 


The memories of my undergraduate days in college are even 
more painful to me than those of the high school period. It was 
a time of unrest, of social maladjustment, and of failure to 
achieve any particular distinction. 

During my high school period I had never felt sure of my 
status among other boys. This sense of insecurity was now 
greatly intensified by the fact that I received no invitation to 
join the fraternity to which my best friends belonged. To be 
sure, I was "spiked" by two good fraternities, and one of these 
I actually joined, but I took part only halfheartedly. I attended 
some of the dances and made a few feeble attempts to learn the 


art of dancing, but I was still ill at ease with girls. At least, I 
had no success in establishing friendly relations with the girls 
who were attractive to me, 

In my first year in college I went out for football, but I was 
a long way off from making the team. In the winter I devoted 
myself to handball, and I continued this interest throughout my 
college course. I found my chief satisfactions in the associations 
formed on the tennis court. Rather early in the college period 
I made a tennis court of my own on the five-acre place which 
my grandfather owned, and I found many who were glad to use 
it. One of my happiest relationships was with Professor John A. 
Bergstrom, an experimental psychologist of great promise, who 
lived across die street from us. He was one of the best tennis 
players I have known, not showy, but steady and careful, and a 
student of the game. His skill is evidenced by the fact that over 
a period of nine years of steady playing, no one ever succeeded 
in winning a single set from him. He was called to Stanford 
shortly after the turn of the century, and died a few years later. 

From early years I had heard much from my mother aboui 
"Arbutus Hill" This hill, which lay five miles east of town, 
was associated with my father's memory. It was he who had dis- 
covered it, and the trailing arbutus, from which it took its 
name, had been adopted as the college flower. This hill was be- 
lieved to be the only place in the state where arbutus grew, and 
every spring scores of people visited the hill and brought back 
a few little sprays. While still in first-year high school, I had 
joined these pilgrims, and I continued to go there every spring. 
During my second year in college I found my first new hill. I 
shall never forget that day. The arbutus was out in all its glory. 
Never before nor since have I found anything that looked to me 


more beautiful I had been there only a few minutes when a 
carriage made its appearance on the opposite slope, and Dr. Wil- 
liam Lowe Bryan, our professor of philosophy and psychology, 
got out. He was much surprised to see me and wanted to know 
how I had found the place. He then suggested that we keep it 
secret in order to protect the flowers. 

It was veneration for my father that determined my choice 
of a major subject in the college course. After completing the 
required courses in English, German, and mathematics, I was 
having a hard time deciding what to take as my specialty, I 
thought seriously of mathematics, but I eventually decided upon 
German, chiefly because my father had been a teacher of mod- 
ern languages. With this decision made, I threw myself vigor- 
ously into my chosen field, taking also Greek and French and 
then, in my senior year, Gothic and Old English. 

Of great importance in my development was a course I took 
in my sophomore year under Professor Bryan. This was a course 
in ethics, which was considered the best course in the University, 
even as Dr. Bryan himself was looked upon as our greatest 
teacher. I became deeply interested in, also somewhat be- 
wildered at, the vast universe it opened before me. Most im- 
portant for me was the fact that Dr. Bryan used my father as 
an exemplification of the great teacher, speaking particularly of 
his belief in the necessity of prompt punishment and of his 
recognition of the need for encouragement and consistency. This 
greatly intensified my devotion to his memory and reinforced 
the idealism which was one of the components in the conflict 
and unrest of this period. 

On June 9, 1895, my grandfather died after a lingering ill- 
ness. Two days later, his old colleague Daniel Kirkwood passed 


away in California. Both men had belonged to what was known 
as Indiana University's "Big Four." 5 Kirkwood was a forerunner 
of the new day in higher education. He was a specialist in 
mathematical astronomy. Although without access to telescopes 
or other astronomical instruments, he had worked out original 
and significant theories regarding comets, meteors, nebulae, and 
planetary movements, which had won recognition across the 
ocean where he was known as "the Kepler of America." The 
others of the old guard were Elisha Ballantine, a Presbyterian 
minister of liberal views and a fine Greek scholar, and Richard 
Owen, son of Robert Owen, who as a boy had come over from 
Scotland with New Harmony's "boat-load of knowledge." During 
the Civil War, Richard Owen had been for some time commander 
of the Union prison at Camp Morton, and the University 
now cherishes a statue of him erected in 1913 by his one- 
time Confederate prisoners in recognition of his kindly treat- 
ment of them. In order to secure him for the University my 
grandfather had given up his own chair of natural philosophy 
and had taken that of Latin and Greek, an arrangement which 
held for three years. He then resumed the chair of natural 
philosophy, and Professor Owen took over geology and chemistry 
and German and French. It was Professor Owen who brought 
my father to the University. Of the "Big Four," I think of my 
grandfather as perhaps the most distinctive representative of the 
old order with its classical learning and its rock-ribbed devotion 
to age-old religion and morality. As such he had been recognized 
with the honorary degree of doctor of divinity by Princeton, 
Miami, and Monmouth, and with that of doctor of laws by the 
University of Pennsylvania. 
A year after my grandfather's death, Uncle Arthur Mellette, 

5 Woodburn, op. c&., pp. 342-358. 


who had been governor of South Dakota, also passed away not 
long after losing all his property no inconsiderable amount 
because of a defaulting state treasurer on whose bond he had 
gone. These deaths removed the last of the significant men in 
the family, and left me feeling the pressure of a situation to 
which I was unequal. 

The sense of inadequacy was perhaps increased when in 1896 
my sister entered college. She was received with open arms 
and was "rushed" vigorously by both the leading sororities. I 
was proud of her, but I was reminded of my own deficiencies. 
Through her I had contacts with the other sex, but 1 was still 
awkward, and the painful shyness of the high school period was 
still in evidence. I had to force myself when it came to speaking 
in public, even in the classroom. I attended social affairs from a 
sense of duty, not because I found any satisfaction in them. 

It is only with difficulty that I am able to recall the steps in 
the development of the inner conflict which has given me so 
much trouble. I seldom discussed the subject of sex with other 
boys, not even with my most intimate friends, and I had little 
dealing with girls. But all the while I was extremely sensitive 
on the subject, and the entire realm of sex was for me at once 
fascinating and terrifying. The essence of the difficulty lay thus 
in the fact that these sexual interests could neither be controlled 
nor acknowledged for fear of condemnation. Because of the pres- 
ence of instinctual cravings which to me were forbidden, I felt 
isolated from my fellows. That, as I see it, is the explanation 06 
the grave social maladjustments of this periodthe shyness, the 
self-consciousness, the anxiety. I was never any good at bluffing.j 
When I did wrong, I always got caught. 

It may be noted that I did not permit myself to read the ordi- 
nary obscene stuff or to look at the vulgar cards which the boys 


sometimes passed around. What I did was to turn to certain 
parts of the Bible, to certain plays of Shakespeare, and to certain 
articles in the encyclopedias, deceiving myself with the idea that 
I was seeking after knowledge. Such temptations were increased 
when, as a specialist in languages, I was free to browse around in 
the departmental library. Certain French novels had an influence 
upon me which was far from wholesome, not necessarily because 
these books were "bad," but because they dealt frankly with emo- 
tionally charged problems. They added fuel to fire that was 
already more than I could control. 

Most vividly do I remember one occasion when I undertook 
to bum out the caterpillars in a walnut tree in our orchard. I 
used a long pole capped on the end with rags soaked in kero- 
sene. With this I did considerable damage to the caterpillars. 
When I had finished, I laid the pole down on the ground. A 
litde later I came back, inspected the pole, and leaned it up 
against the woodhouse. Then I went to my room and buried 
myself in Tolstoi's Anna Karenina. This was for me in that 
period of my life the kind of reading which was equivalent to 
playing with fire, but I permitted myself to read it, especially 
in vacations, because it was something which men of culture 
ought to be acquainted with. I can recall the feeling which had 
come over me from the reading, a sort of vertigo, when suddenly 
I heard the cry of "fire!" It did not take long to discover what the 
trouble was. Our woodhouse was on fire! Thanks to prompt ac- 
tion on the part of the city fire department, the fire was put out 
with only moderate loss, and the house itself did not catch 
fire. Enough of the woodhouse remained to show how the fire 
started. It had come from the pole which I had put up against 
the building. Rather symbolic, it seemed to me, of my personal 


situation. This happened, I believe, in the vacation preceding 
my senior year. 

With the ending of the college course in 1897, I was twenty 
years old, the youngest in the class as to chronological age and 
still younger in the matter of maturity. I j^jjffiauifiLof .myself, 
and at the same time possessed of exalted ideas and intent upon 
finding a high school teaching position at the very least. But 
no job presented itself which I was willing to accept. Indiana's 
President Swain suggested a country school. He thought it 
would be a valuable experience for me, but I scorned the idea. 


The failure to find employment immediately after graduation 
was a terrific blow to me. However, I had a good idea of where 
the trouble lay and I set to work at putting my house in order. 
I began that task by fixing up my room and raising the standards 
of caring for it. I also undertook the care of our garden and did 
a really good job. I followed through a course of reading and 
study, and I began to give attention to my handwriting, which 
had been unformed and changeable. I tried to work out a style 
of my own modeled somewhat after that of an English teacher 
for whom I felt a considerable liking. At the end of the summer 
I enrolled in the graduate school. 

During the fall of 1897 things went well. I entered the new 
school year with a sense of virtue because of the vigorous work of 
the summer. I got a job as desk attendant in the University 
library and I became deeply interested in my studies, especially 
in the reading of William James s Principles of Psychology under 
the guidance of Dr. Bryan. I also took a course in experimental 
psychology under Dr. Bergstrom, and more German, more 


French, more Greek. Not without Importance was the Bible 
class I attended at the United Presbyterian Church under Dr. 

All went well until the Christmas vacation. Then came a fall 
from grace, I read a novel of Zola's, one of the kind I could not 
assimilate, and I crossed the line I had determined not to cross. 6 
As a result I felt stripped of self-respect and burdened with a 
neavy sense of failure and guilt. It was in this mood that I en- 
|ered the new quarter of study. 

As the quarter advanced the inner tension increased. We were 
reading Professor James s chapters on "Habit" and "Will." These 
did not bring me any comfort. Then, if my memory serves me 
aright, we had that winter a visit from Colonel Francis Parker 
of Chicago, one of the recognized educational leaders of the 
country and an old friend of my father's, In the course of his 
lecture he made some pointed remarks about abuse of the imagi- 
nation. When at the close I went up with Mother to speak to 
him, he remarked that my father was the greatest teacher he had 
ever known and that William T. Harris had said the same 
thing. Here, then, was the touching of a sore spot by a man who 
represented my father. It intensified the idealistic component 
and at the same time made me aware of my shortcomings. 

Toward spring I received a letter from my great-uncle in 
Philadelphia, the brother of my grandfather and the pastor of 
the old Wylie Memorial Church, inquiring about my "spiritual 
condition." Meanwhile I had made an alarming discovery. As 
I turned the leaves of my Greek dictionary, obscene words would 

6 The "transgression" referred to was that of a psychically induced orgasm. 
Concerning my problem, I may say that it had to do chiefly with erotic 
fantasy derived for the most part from reading. Actual orgasm was not fre- 
quent, and when it did occur it resulted usually from psychic stimulation. 
The fantasies were always of the opposite sex. 


leap out of its pages and hit me in the eye; and so they would 
leap out of other dictionaries also. It was obvious that some- 
thing was seriously wrong. 

The tension reached the breaking point on Easter morning of 
1898. I got up early that morning after a sleepless night and 
went out into the garden where Mother's hyacinths and daffodils 
were in full bloom. It was a beautiful day, but there was no 
sunshine there for me, and no beauty nothing but black de- 
spair. I came back to my room and threw myself on my knees 
with an agonized call for help. And help came! Something 
seemed to say to me almost in words, ^ 

With this it seemed as though a great burden had been taken 
away. I felt very happy. That day I had a talk with Mother. 
What I said and what she said I do not remember. She under- 
stood. That was enough. Then I felt impelled to go to Dr. 
Bryan. I talked with him under the trees at his home on North 
College Avenue. I cannot remember much of that talk either, 
but one thing stands out clear. He told me that it would al- 
ways be necessary to fight for control of the instincts and that I 
must look to Christ for help, and to some good woman. 

Following that Easter Sunday I found myself unable to do 
the routine classwork. Only what was related to my dominant 
interests could hold my attention. My mind was in a tumult, 
surging with all sorts of ideas, ideas which came from many 
sources, vivid memories from out of the past, especially from 
the period of childhood, and others which seemed to come from 
no previous experience of my own. There were even ideas of 
having lived before and of being more important than I had ever 
dreamed. But I was hopeful, happy, confident. 

Within a few days I was approached by one of the Young 
Men's Christian Association secretaries with the invitation to 


take a Bible study group. This I accepted at once, looking upon 
it as a divine leading. In this new task I found real satisfaction. 
I also made some false moves, chiefly in the nature of attempts 
to talk of personal religion with some of my friends. 

What I did during the following summer vacation I cannot 
distinctly remember. I think I brushed up on my Latin by tak- 
ing a college course. I know I did much reading in the field of 
religion. In any case, the following fall I found myself with a 
job as teacher of German and French in the Bloomington High 

In trying to understand what happened to me on that Easter 
morning in 1898 and during the year that followed I get much 
help from a theory which is known as "Bryan's Law of the 
Plateaus in Learning/' This theory, advanced by the beloved 
teacher who has had such an important part in my life, was 
based upon a study of the rate of learning in telegraphy. It was 
found that in the acquisition of skill, the curve of progress 
showed a tendency to strike certain levels and stay there, perhaps 
even to drop a little, until suddenly there would come an abrupt 
upward turn which would continue for a time with diminishing 
acceleration until again a dead level was found. These plateaus 
were more marked in receiving messages than in sending thera^ 
but they were present in both. The explanation was found in the 
hypothesis that at the point where the dead level is reached some 
obstruction is encountered, and at the point where the sharp 
upward turn occurs this obstacle is removed or overcome. 

The application seems clear. My development had been 
checked by the presence of instinctual claims which could be 
neither controlled nor acknowledged for fear of condemnation. 
The prompting, "Do not be afraid to tell," brought relief by 
socializing the difficulty, and it did so on the level of what for 


me was abiding and universal. I was now at one with the inter- 
nalized fellowship of the best, the fellowship which is repre- 
sented by the idea of God. I felt now like a new being. There 
was new hope and new confidence, and the painful shyness 
which so long had troubled me seemed to have disappeared. At 
least, I felt a freedom in my association with others which I had 
not felt before; I found new interest in my work, and increased 

Since my high school teaching was only a part-time job, I 
took additional work in German and French at the University. 
I became especially interested in the French courses because of 
the new head of the department, Professor Kuersteiner, who had 
just arrived on the scene. I liked him and I liked his methods of 
teaching, and under his guidance and that of Professor Karsten 
of the German department, I gave especial attention to philology. 

For my effectiveness as a teacher in the high school I can 
make no great claim. I had difficulty, especially in the matter of 
discipline. Nevertheless, as a result of the work done at the 
University, new opportunities presented themselves. I was of- 
fered an instructorship in German at Vanderbilt University in 
Nashville, Tennessee, and a position as tutor in French at 
Indiana University. I chose the latter. 

Now for the first time I found myself enjoying friendly re- 
lationships with young women. This I attribute to the release 
from the diffidence of the earlier years, also to the fact that my 
sister was now at the height of her popularity in college. She 
was editor-in-chief of the college annual, the Arbutus, as it was 
called, president of her sorority, and voted the best-liked girl 
in college. 

Again my memory is hazy and I cannot recall the course of 
events. The important fact is that with the passing of time I 


became less watchful, and the old enemy got hold of me again. 
During the early part of 1902, 1 grew increasingly restless. I was 
aware of the fact that it was time for me to take decisive action 
of some sort. If I were to continue as a teacher of languages, I 
should be getting further training. I was also aware of the danger 
within, and fearful of my ability to win out in what was for me 
a temptation-laden situation. Since in French literature I was 
constantly confronted with the unassimilated sex problem, a 
change of occupation seemed called for. 

This increasing unrest eventuated in the decision to give up 
my career as a teacher of languages and to embark upon a new 
course, that of a fprester. Regarding this decision, I can say that 
it was entirely free. I had already been advanced to an instructor- 
ship in romance languages, and both Professor Kuersteiner and 
President Bryan had assured me of a leave of absence to study 

Like others of my major decisions, this decision to study for- 
estry came automatically. I had for some days been feeling es- 
pecially tense and restless, when I chanced upon an article on 
forestry as a profession. I read it only in part, and then went out 
in considerable excitement, feeling that the way was clear and 
die decision made. 

While apparently sudden, this decision had its explanation in 
interests of long standing. I have reference to my activities in ex- 
ploring the wide stretches of woodland east of Bloomington in 
search of trailing arbutus. This flower has thus far defied all 
attempts at cultivation, but I had succeeded in discovering the 
conditions under which it grew. I had found that in this area 
it was likely to be found on steep western exposures in shale for- 
mations and that it grew in close association with partridgeberry, 
wintergreen, huckleberry, and moss under a broken stand of oak 


and hickory. It was therefore easy to find new places, and I 
had by this time found ten new arbutus-covered hillsides. 

This decision to become a forester, like my interest in the 
arbutus itself, thus grew out of a loyalty to my father's memory 
which had become one with my religion. I can still remember 
the tense emotion which marked that period, emotion in which 
the thought of him was dominant. I vowed that I would be true 
to the heritage he had left me. This decision stood also for the 
idea of adventure, of exploration, of cutting loose from the 
beaten path and starting forth into unknown territory. Not only 
in retrospect have I had this feeling. That was my feeling then. 




IT WAS AFTER I had made the decision to become a forester that 
I met Alice Batchelder. She was an Easterner, a native of Ports- 
mouth, New Hampshire, and a graduate of Smith College, who 
came to Indiana University in 1902 as Secretary of the Young 
Women's Christian Association, I saw her for the first time at a 
convocation, where she was introduced to the student body and 
made a brief address. She was at that time twenty-two years of 
age. She was somewhat above average height, with wavy hair 
of a genuine golden color. What she said I do not remember, 
but she spoke in a clear, well-modulated voice, and I was im- 
pressed with her sincerity and earnestness. I fell in love with her 
then and there. It was a one-sided affair, a love that swept me 
off my feet. I received little encouragement, but I saw her from 
time to time as often as she would let me. In the spring I took 
her out driving several times, once to my favorite arbutus-car- 
peted hillside, another time to Cedar Bluff in search of shooting 
star and columbine. It was at Cedar Bluff that I told her of my 
love for her, asking at least for her friendship. She was very 
gentle in her answer, but it was not the one I longed for. She 
felt it best that our relationship should cease entirely. 

At the close of the year we both left Bloomington, she to be- 



come State Secretary of the Young Women's Christian As- 
sociation in Missouri, I to join a forestry party on the eastern 
shore of Maryland. There I spent the summer thinking of her 
as I counted rings on bald cypress and loblolly pine or helped 
to run strip surveys through Worcester County's timberland. I 
found myself unable to give her up, and I had the deep feeling 
that my very existence was involved. I was having a hard fight 
to keep wayward erotic ideation under control. I promised my- 
self that if I could keep the record clear for three months, then 
at the end of that time I would write to her. This I did, and 
I wrote telling her of my continued thought of her. But I re- 
ceived no answer. This was a severe blow and I did not know 
what to do. I recognized that she meant what she had said. Was 
it fair either to her or to myself to keep on hoping? 

One evening as I was wresding with the question of what to 
do, I resorted, as desperate men sometimes will, to what I re- 
garded as rank superstition. I took my Bible and opened it at 
random. My eye fell upon the words, "Ask and ye shall receive, 
seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. 
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; 
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened/' I was startled be- 
cause this passage applied so directly to the problem on my mind. 

The next night I tried the same thing. This time the words 
Were these: "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed 
to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from 
them. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast 
and every transgression received a just recompense of reward, 
how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" Here 
again, though not so clearly, I saw an answer to the question on 
my mind. In any case, the thought of her more and more took 
possession of me. 

After the completion of my first year in the Yale Forest School 


the following June, I was assigned to the making of a working 
plan for a five-thousand-acre tract in southwestern New Hamp- 
shire under the leadership of Charles Lyford, an old Cornell 
stroke. This assignment I had requested because it sent me to 
Alice Batchelder s native state. In the late fall of 1904 a study of 
lumbering took me to the White Mountains of northern New 
Hampshire. On the way back I stopped off at Portsmouth, hop- 
ing to see her. It so happened that she was at home, but, calling 
unannounced, I met with a very chilly reception. I was heart- 
broken, and with a mind tense with despair I went on to Wash- 
ington, where the Forest School men were to meet with the 
American Forestry Association. 

In that state of mind I went on Sunday morning to the 
Church of the Covenant. The sermon that day was on the migra- 
tion of Abraham* The main point in Dr. Hamlin's sermon, as it 
stands out in my memory, was the difference between following 
a certain course because of arbitrary desire and doing so in obedi- 
ence to God's will. The man who starts out on a long and dif- 
ficult quest in obedience to God's will must in the end reach his 
goal, whereas the man who is prompted by arbitrary desire can 
have no such assurance. Because of the tense and suggestible 
state of mind I was in that morning, this sermon could hardly 
have failed to have a profound effect, I took it as a message to me. 
It was followed by several sleepless nights. 

The tense emotion did not subside with my return to New 
Haven. It was here toward Easter that the climax came. I was 
looking one evening through Emerson's essay on the "Oversoul," 
when my attention was arrested by the following passage: 

The things that are really for thee gravitate to thee. You are run- 
ning to seek your friend. Let your feet run, but your mind need not. 
If you do not find him, will you not acquiesce that it is best you 
should not find him? For there is a power which, as it is in you, is 


in him also, and could therefore very well bring you together, if it 
were for the best. You are preparing with eagerness to go and render 
a service to which your talent and your taste invite you, the love of 
men and the hope of fame. Has it not occurred to you, that you have 
no right to go unless you are equally willing to be prevented from 
going? O, believe, as thou livest, that every sound that is spoken 
over the round world, which thou oughtest to hear, will vibrate in 
thine ear! every proverb, every book, every byword that belongs to 
thee for aid or comfort shall surely come home through open or wind- 
ing passages. Every friend whom not thy fantastic will, but the great 
and tender heart in thee craveth, shall lock thee in his embrace. And 
this because the heart in thee is the heart of all; not a valve, not 
a wall, not an intersection is there any where in nature, but one 
blood rolls uninterruptedly an endless circulation through all men, 
as the water of the globe is all one sea, and, truly seen, its tide is 

These words seemed to apply to my situation. They helped to in- 
duce an attitude of resignation and trust, and thus brought 
peace to my troubled mind. 

That night as I lay half awake, half asleep, something seemed 
to say to me just as on that Easter morning seven years before, 
"Write and tell her all about it/' I arose almost mechanically 
and wrote to Alice, telling her of the moral struggle I had been 
having and of my reason for studying forestry. 

After I had finished this letter, I began to question. Thinking 
then of the passage in Emerson and of the two passages of Scrip- 
ture, I took the Bible again, and after a prayer I once more 
opened it at random. The verse I read was John 19:27 "Then 
said he to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother!' " 

I was deeply moved, for regardless of its origin, this "message" 
pointed to what I was really seeking in Alice. I realized that my 
love for her was really a desperate cry for salvation and an arP 
peal to a beloved person stronger than myself. 

Shortly after sending the letter, while walking down New 


Haven's Chapel Street, the idea came surging into my mind, 
"You have found the hills where the flowers grow. It must be 
your task to show the way to them." 

This for me was the call to the ministry. 

I had never hefore dreamed' of such a step, for I had never 
seen in myself the qualifications requisite for that calling. I felt 
that I had no gift of expression, either in speech or in writing; 
neither did I have the personal qualities which a minister ought 
to have. But the idea seemed to carry authority because of the 
way it came. It also made sense. It meant that just as out of the 
devotion to my father's memory I had been led to discover new 
haunts of the flower that he loved, so now through that same de- 
votion I had tapped anew the eternal sources of religious faith 
and renewal. It would also permit me to claim a place as a 
fellow worker with Alice. But still I questioned. 

The next morning, April 2, was Sunday, and I went to 
Battell Chapel, on the Yale campus, where 

|in was preaching. His theme was the Call to the Ministry. It 
seemed to be a message for me, and it set my doubts at rest. I 
then wrote two more letters to Alice, telling her of my decision, 
and voicing the hope that we might be able to serve together. 

After the third letter had been sent there came, on April 9, 
another memorable sermon, one by Charles Cuthbert Hall, of 
Union Theological Seminary, also in Battell Chapel His sub- 
ject that morning was the ancient story of Abraham's sacrifice 
of Isaac. His theme was that before a man can enter into fellow- 
ship with God, he must endure some such test. 

Three days later came the answer to my letters. Alice wrote 
that she had read my letters with much distress, that only one 
answer had ever been possible, and that she must ask me not 
to write to her any more or to think of her further. She would 


be afraid to say this if she did not know that higher than a man's 
love for a woman must be his love for God as the only motive 
to determine his conduct. I felt myself dashed to pieces. It was 
as if I had been trying to fly and had been brought crashing 
down. I gave way to a reaction of weakness and despair. 1 

With the close of the school year in 1905 I entered the Forest 
Service. For a full year I served with my chief of the previous 
summer in a forest survey of the state of New Hampshire. Fol- 
lowing that I was assigned to the making of a working plan for 
the Henry's Lake National Forest just west of Yellowstone 
Park. I was then transferred to the Office of Silvics under Raph- 
ael Zon, the Forest Service's outstanding scientist, and as- 
signed to the task of studying the commercial hickories. All of 
these assignments were full of interest, and in between each one 
came a sojourn in Washington, where under Chief Forester 
Gifford Pinchot and President Theodore Roosevelt, the Forest 
Service was going forward by leaps and bounds, and the con- 
servation movement was getting under way. 

All the while I kept thinking of Alice, and meditating on the 
call to the ministry which I believed I had received. After some 
two years had passed and I had paid off the indebtedness in- 
curred in taking the forestry course, I began to consider the next 
step. But the way was not clear. It had been obscured, I felt, 
by my failure to stand the test which had followed the call. 

I had already become somewhat worked up in my efforts to get 
clear on this problem when I went one Sunday evening to hear Dr. 
Woodrow, who had just accepted the call to the First Congrega- 

1 The reaction referred to here was physiologically that of emission without 
erection. It occurred three times in rapid succession. This was something 
which had not previously been a problem with me, but it left me now with 
a horrible sense of failure and guilt, especially in the light of Dr. Hall's ser- 
mon three days before. Psychologically, it was the collapse of faith, which 
left me at the mercy of ideas of despair and self-pity. 


tional Church in Washington. His sermon I shall never forget. 
His subject was the "Broken Vessel" He ended by saying, "If, 
by chance, there is someone here tonight who has had a great 
vision of God's purpose for him and who has been unfaithful 
to that vision, I call upon him to arise and give himself into the 
hands of the Great Potter in order that he may be made again 
another vessel as it seemeth good unto the Potter." 

T^semonjiad the^efiect of driving me nearly psychotic. I 
cannot remember what followed. I do know that I wrote to 
Alice, telling her of my steady purpose to enter the ministry and 
of the great perplexity in which I found myself by reason of my 
failure to stand the test two years before. This letter may have 
come to her at an opportune time. I have never been sure, but at 
least it has been my impression that she had been a Student 
Volunteer and that shortly before my letter came she had re- 
ceived word of her rejection for foreign service because of her 
health. However that may be, she now consented to see me. 

The meeting took place at the Baptist Training Institute in 
Philadelphia early in the winter of 1908, and it served to clear 
the way for me. At the close she offered prayer in my behalf, 
asking for wisdom and guidance. I remember being in tears at 
the close of this prayer and kissing the hand she offered me. She 
responded by saying, "God's promises always come true/* 

I proceeded then with my plans and made arrangements to 
enter Union Theological Seminary in the fall, choosing that 
school because Dr. Coffin and President Hall were both con- 
nected with it. To this change of course, my mother gave her full 
consent and helped to make it possible. 

I then wrote to Alice, telling her of my action, and because I 
had taken her closing words in Philadelphia as a virtual promise, 
given out of pity rather than out of love, I told her that I would 


never accept from her anything she could not give freely. She 
replied, saying that I must have misunderstood. She had given 
no promise. Her first answer had teen final and could not be 

I went then into an_abnormal condition which I can recall 
only hazily. I saw myself, as it were^fn the thick of a great fight. 
I had been entrusted with a responsibility on which everything 
dependeJ^but T^Had fallen and could "not risel Then I saw her, 
and it seemed that she had appeared and reappeared through 
the centuries. And always across her path stood a poor wretch 
whose claim of need could not be denied, one who for her was a 
heavy cross. She was therefore always lonely and sad. Then it 
came to me that even though I had fallen, even though I was 
a broken vessel, I might give her to someone else. And another 
man, one of my fellow foresters, seemed pointed out. I went 
to him and stumblingly asked him to accept this trust; and he 
seemed to understand. After that I was very happy. It seemed 
that the fight was won. Then came terrible darkness. I was 
horrified at the breach of conventionality of which I had been 
guilty. I must surely be insane. And yet this prompting had 
seemed to carry authority just like that of the Easter experience 
in 1898 and that of the call to the ministry in 1905. 

In this time of turmoil before I had left Washington to enter 
Union, I felt impelled to start a Bible class at the boardinghouse 
on Sixteenth near M Street, where some twenty or thirty Forest 
Service men were taking their meals. This went awfully against 
the grain for me, but I had to do it, so it seemed. It will be clear 
that I was in this period at least near-psychotic, and that such be- 
havior today would surely land me in St. Elizabeth's. In that 
day, however, some of my friends, deeply troubled though they 
were, stood by me. Among these I have reason to be especially 


grateful to my chief, Raphael Zon. But desperately uncomfort- 
able though it made me, I stuck it out with the Bible class until 
it was time to enter the seminary. 

In the fall of 1908 I entered Union Theological Seminary in 
New York City for three of the happiest years of my life. Alice 
consented to correspond with me, and I was well received by 
the group. 

Union Seminary at that time was located on Park Avenue be- 
tween 69th and yoth Streets. It had a student body of about 
one hundred and seventy, and a faculty of about twelve. What 
impressed me at once was the caliber of these men and the warm, 
friendly spirit which prevailed. It was the time of Protestantism's 
greatest hopefulness, the time when that great leader in foreign 
missions, John R. Mott, was calling for the evangelization of 
the world in this generation, and this hopefulness was soberly 
reflected at Union. I found there just what I needed. 

Although Union was one of the most forward-looking theo- 
logical schools in the country, there was no provision in its cur- 
riculum for the consideration of the subject in which I was 
especially interested, the psychology of religion as interpreted 
by William James. That was true of our theological schools 
generally at that time. The study of the psychology of religion 
had arisen during the eighteen-nineties in the secular educa- 
tional institutions, but even in 1908, six years after the appear- 
ance of James's great Varieties of Religious Experience, it had 
as yet found little place within the structure of theological edu- 
cation. However, at Union I was introduced to fields of study 
which I found of great interest, and I was encouraged to ap- 
proach them from my own standpoint. 

For my practical experience that first year I was assigned to 
the Spring Street Presbyterian Church on New York's lower 


West Side, under the supervision of Herbert Bates. For the sum- 
mer period I went to the Adirondacks under the Adirondack 
Mission Board. There I was given a little church in the open 
country three miles from the village of Santa Clara, a church in 
which Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick had once served as student 
pastor. The community was an impoverished one. It had been 
dependent upon a big lumber mill, which had cut all the timber 
and then moved away, leaving it to shift for itself. My salary 
of twenty-five dollars a month and living expenses was paid al- 
most entirely by the Mission Board. All that the people were ac- 
customed to contribute was derived almost entirely from a 
church social held near the end of the summer. This seemed to 
me an unhealthy situation. 

For this reason I made a proposal to my people. The church 
building was badly in need of paint. How would it be, I asked 
them, if we should use the money given by the Mission Board 
to pay for the painting, and raise the money for the pastor's 
salary by direct subscription? I offered to raise thirty of the 
needed seventy-five dollars by working as a laborer. My pro- 
posal was received with little enthusiasm, but most of the people 
were willing to humor their pastor. In consequence, I put in 
twenty-five days at hard labor, working on road or farm along- 
side of the men of my parish, and the budget was oversubscribed. 
I also applied some of my forestry training to the study of the 
parish. I made a map of the parish, showing the location of the 
homes. I also made a list of persons twelve years of age and older, 
together with a brief characterization of each one. The next sum- 
mer I returned to Santa Clara in order to follow through along 
the same general line. This second summer, instead of painting 
the church, we put up sheds for the horses. I have often won- 
dered since how much those sheds were used before the advent 


of automobiles made them unnecessary, I have also in later years 
had doubts about some of my tactics. 

The second year at Union was chiefly memorable for me by 
reason of the arrival of George Albert Coe as professor of re- 
ligious education and psychology. I took all the courses he of- 
fered, and found them helpful and stimulating. On some im- 
portant issues I could not agree with him. F^LSSz,^ 1 ^ in t ^ ie 
reality of mystical experience was fundamental. For Professor 
Coe^ it'"was' something in the nature of a red flag. He had long 
been leading a crusade against the excesses of middle western 
revivalism and he was convinced that the mystic derives from 
his mystical experience nothing he has not brought to it. Al- 
though I disagreed with his interpretation of mystical experience, 
I found very great help in his courses. In later years his interest 
in my project was something for which I am eternally grateful. 
Throughout this period Alice was always uppermost in my 
mind, and her letters meant a lot to me. However, as I look back, 
I see that I did not make as much of the privilege of writing as 
I might have. It seemed to me of first importance that I should 
do good work in my studies. Therefore I did not respond affirma- 
tively to her suggestion that we correspond in French, and I 
did not devote to my letters the time and thought needed to 
make them really worthwhile. My academic standing I brought 
from an average of 83 in the first semester to 96 in the senior 
year, and 93 for the entire three years. Meanwhile the old battle 
for self-control seemed to be in hand. I felt therefore a certain 
degree of self-satisfaction. On this account I felt more keenly 
the fact that Alice would not permit me to see her and that her 
letters were written on her official stationery. In any case, at the 
end of my second year at Union she sent me an excellent picture 
of herself, one which I have always treasured. 


At Christmas in 1910 she visited me at the Seminary and I 
went with her to Lowell, Massachusetts, where she had been 
general secretary of the Young Women's Christian Association 
since 1909. One memorable evening we went together to the 
Boston Symphony. The next day, on a walk to the nearby town 
of Billerica, she told me that there was no other man and that 
she had decided to give her heart a chance. Beyond that she 
would not commit herself. I returned to New York in a very 
happy mood. My roommate, however, felt that Alice did not 
show the love for me he would have wished to see. 

Concerning the next three months, my memory is rather hazy. 
I do know that I was faced with the problem which confronts 
most seminary graduates, that of finding a church which is ready 
to trust its fortunes into their hands. In this I was embarrassed 
by the fact that a pastorate without Alice's help was for me un- 
thinkable, and yet she had given me no right to promise that. 

I recall also that my hopes for the future centered upon a 
trip into the country to which she had given her consent. As 
soon as the arbutus came into bloom, we were to visit some of 
my old haunts in New Hampshire. For this I made elaborate 
plans. I intended to go up a day or two beforehand to look over 
the ground and find the most likely spots. 

But Alice planned it otherwise. She had heard of a place 
nearby at Ponemah, New Hampshire, and in a somewhat be- 
lated letter, written on her official stationery, she vetoed rny plan. 
What was more, she announced that a friend of hers would be 
coming with us. It was a letter that hurt, and I gave way to the 
same reaction of weakness which had followed the "call" at New 
Haven in 1905. In consequence, I went to Lowell with a wrong 
"set," or attitude. As I look back upon it now, I am reasonably 
sure that she was ready to give the answer I longed for more 


than all else In the world. This, at least, is true, that as we 
were returning from Ponemah, her friend left, ty agreement I 
think, remarking as she did so that Alice looked like a bride with 
all those flowers. 

Clearly it was time for me to speak, and I longed to do so 
and felt a deep tenderness come over me. But I was not ready 
and the words would not come. All that I did was to take her pic- 
turetwelve exposures! Then the friend returned, and the pre- 
cious chance was gone. 

I felt utterly miserable. How to account for it I do not know, 
but for the return trip I bought a ticket to Boston, where my 
sister was living, instead of to Lowell. 1 can still see the flash in 
Alice's eyes as she inquired whether she had heard correctly. 
When we pulled into Lowell, she would not let me accompany 
her. Looking back, I am sure she interpreted my ineptness as 
due to resentment on my part. I felt at the time as though an 
evil spirit had taken possession of me, but that spirit was not one 
of resentment, I was just feeling terribly uncomfortable and I 
wanted to get off by myself. 

In any case I went back brokenhearted. As soon as possible I 
got on the telephone, and she consented to see me the next day. 
But nothing I was able to say could repair the damage. She gave 
her answer. Our friendship had brought happiness to neither of 
us, and she was sure that it was not God's will that it should 

On my return to the Seminary I wrote, begging for the privi- 
lege of seeing her again. She replied asking me not to write fur- 
ther, and stated that she would not see me again unless she de- 
cided to give me her love. I replied that I would not and could 
not give up until I was sure that the right ending had been 


How she felt I do not know. I have never flattered myself 
that anything in me could have caught her imagination, but in 
so far as she had believed in my love for her, she must have been 
deeply hurt. Years later she told me that she had lost her position 
as general secretary at Lowell. In view of her splendid efficiency 
and of the fact that she left Lowell only a few months after the 
Ponemah tragedy I cannot but wonder if her vocational setback 
must not be charged to my account. 

Looking back, I have often wondered what difference it 
would have made in my life if I could have gone through the 
years with her. She was, as I saw her, a charming, highly gifted, 
level-headed woman with deep feelings and a high temper, 
which she kept under strict control. The key to her character 
I find in her statement to me that she had "decided to give her 
heart a chance," She had a New England conscience. She could 
always be counted on to do what she thought was right and to 
follow a consistent course regardless of her feelings. She always 
had a superior rating in her studies and she was very skillful 
with pen and brush. Of one thing I am sure. Any household of 
hers would have been well-ordered. 


Fortunately for me, after graduating in 1911, I was given a 
challenging job; and in Fred Eastman, a brilliant younger class- 
mate, I found a friend to whose understanding and loyalty I 
am forever indebted. Both of us had enlisted for country church 
work in response to an appeal by Dr. Warren H. Wilson of the 
Presbyterian Board of Home Missions. Just why we chose coun- 
try churches is a fair question, for neither of us knew much 
about country life. In my own case it seemed a logical next step 
for a onetime forester. It was also in line with what I had been 


doing at Santa Clara. As for Fred, he had reacted against the 
scramble for strong churches which we had observed among 
some of our associates. In any case, Dr. Wilson made an impres- 
sion on both of us, and since neither of us was married, the way 
seemed clear. We had been assigned to small churches in north- 
eastern Missouri, when Dr. Wilson called us in. He had just 
been asked by the Kirksville Normal School to collaborate in a 
study of church and school conditions in that same section of 
Missouri to which we were going, and he was wondering if we 
might be interested in undertaking that study before tying our- 
selves down with churches. 

As things turned out, the survey was a fortunate suggestion. 
Our churches failed to materialize. I was to have had a small 
church in the village of Ethel. I had assumed that since the 
Mission Board was to pay three-fifths of the thousand-dollar 
salary, there would be little question regarding the appointment. 
But I had reckoned without taking account of the rural mind. 
After preaching there, I was considerably nettled when word 
came that I would not do, and Fred subjected me to some good- 
natured chaffing over my inability to touch the popular heart. 
Meantime his own assignment had proved unsatisfactory be- 
cause of serious overchurching in the community, and he was 
sent to Ethel. On his return, he reported that he had made quite 
a hit. Five days later word came that he would not do. The ex- 
planation was appended that neither of us was "intense" enough. 
This meant, we learned later, that we were not sufficiently versed 
in the gentle art of "drilling for water/' that is, of eliciting tears. 
Thus it came to pass that in June, 1911, we set forth on bi- 
cycles, each armed with a lengthy questionnaire dealing with all 
phases of rural economic, social, and religious life and with the 
distribution and activities of churches and schools. In order to 


find the answers to some of these questions, I drew upon my 
forestry experience and made use of the sample-plot method. 
I chose a number of representative school districts, and with the 
aid of trustworthy informants I made a list of persons over 
twelve years of age, together with information regarding their 
health, education, occupation, church affiliation, and church 
attendance. I also questioned the church leaders regarding what 
they were trying to do. Fred stuck more closely to the question- 
naire. At the close of the summer we wrote up a report. My 
part in that report was in the form of pictures and statistical 
tables. Fred made use of his outstanding literary ability to write 
a report which was listened to with great interest at a church 
conference that fall. Later, in its printed form, it was widely 

In the fall, following the Missouri survey, Fred was sent to 
Webster County, Kentucky, and then in the winter to Mont- 
gomery County, Maryland, to make similar surveys. I was sent 
to Gibson County in western Tennessee and after that to the 
Salt River Presbytery in Missouri. Both of us found this survey 
work a fine introduction to sociology and economics, and in Dr. 
Wilson we had an incomparable guide. 

An outstanding feature of the situation revealed by our sur- 
vey was the prevalence of the circuit-rider system. The rural and 
village churches in the regions we studied were served by ab- 
sentee ministers who lived in the population centers and 
preached on Sundays once or twice a month in widely separated 
churches with whose people they had minimal acquaintance. 

Significant also were the findings with reference to church 
attendance which I made at this time and supplemented later by 
studies in Kansas and in Maine. According to these findings, 
the influence of the church, as measured by church attendance, 


varies inversely with the degree of liberalization of popular 
religious opinion. Thus, in western Tennessee, where extreme 
conservatism held sway, only 20 per cent of the heads of families 
were classed by their neighbors as nonchurchgoers. In Missouri, 
28 per cent of all those over twelve years of age were so classed. 
In Kansas, 42 per cent of those over twelve were classed as 
nonchurchgoers, and in liberalized Maine, 65 per cent. (These 
findings were published in 1916 in the American Journal of 
Sociology.') Studies such as these, and the frequent change of 
scene which they involved, helped to ease the shock of Alice's 
decision, and carried me through a very trying period. 

At Christmas, in 1911, Alice did consent to correspond again, 
and in the letter in which she gave that consent she said that she 
was interested in me and all that concerned me. These words are 
graven in my heart. Again, I did not, perhaps, take full advantage 
of the opportunity, in that my letters were not as full or as frequent 
as they might have been. Nevertheless, in the spring, when I an- 
nounced my intention of taking a church, she wrote a rather long 
letter in which she spoke of her skill in keeping house and making 
doughnuts. I took this as my opening and I replied accordingly. 
To this she responded in a stinging letter, saying that she had 
never loved me and that her answer had been given and could 
not be changed. I was stunned by her letter. Once more I gave 
way to the reaction of weakness and despair, and in my reply 
I spoke of the promise on which I had counted. Following this, 
the privilege of corresponding was withdrawn. My memory is 
hazy, but I think she said something about having been "weak." 
Meanwhile, Fred Eastman had accepted a pastorate in Locust 
Valley, Long Island, where he was to do an outstanding job, 
and I, hoping still that Alice might relent, went as Congrega- 
tional college pastor to Iowa State College at Ames. It was a 


challenging task. I was to live at the College, getting acquainted 
with students and faculty and using the resources of the College 
in the service of a nearby country church. But I went there in 
a state of mind little favorable to successful work. My usefulness 
was over by the end of the first year. 

In the early summer of 1913, my grandmother passed away 
in the old home in Indiana at the age of one hundred and one. 
In her later years she was alert and active, but her sight, hearing, 
and memory were badly impaired. Her care, which had fallen 
on my mother, was no easy task. Grandma had been accustomed 
to running the household, and she did not readily surrender 
her authority. 

I returned to Bloomington for the funeral services and stayed 
on a couple of months to help in the disposition of the old 
home. Since the house had been in possession of our family for 
fifty-four years eighty, if we include the tenure of Andrew 
Wylie, my grandfather's cousin, and the first president of the 
University, who had built the house that task was both difficult 
and interesting. My grandfather's library we turned over to the 
University as evidence of the kind of scholarship for which the 
University stood in the days when it was young. This library 
included not only scientific books of the period and a classical 
library but also some valuable incunabula and other ancient 
books which had come from his father s library. Among these 
was a fine copy of Ortelius' Qrbis Terramm and a Holbein 
Bible. The University was much interested in this library, even 
though it had been seriously raided, but most of all it was inter- 
ested in our attic, where we found a number of important docu- 
ments relating to the history of the University and of the state. 

Toward the end of the summer my sister, who immediately 
after graduation in 1900 had married Morton Bradley, a promis- 


Ing young Indiana alumnus, at this time head of the fiscal 
department of the Boston and Maine Railroad, returned to her 
home in Arlington, Massachusetts, taking Mother with her. 

I went, with sobering thoughts, to my new assignment in 
Wabaunsee, Kansas, This charge was a small country church, 
paying a salary of six hundred dollars a year and providing a 
parsonage. But again die task was a challenging one. The 
"Beecher Bible and Rifle Church," as it was called, had been 
built in 1857 by a company of Abolitionists from New Haven, 
men who had come west to help Kansas free itself of the institu- 
tion of slavery, and had received, each one, a Bible and a Sharped 
rifle from Henry Ward Beecher and his church. My church had 
thus a fine tradition and it was located twelve miles from Man- 
hattan, the site of the Kansas State College of Agriculture. We 
hoped, with the help of the College and of the Manhattan 
Congregational Church's pastor, Arthur Holt and his associate, 
Willis Goldsmith, to make it a sort of experiment station in 
rural church work. It was much the same idea as that at Ames, 
but here I was to center my attention upon the church and its 
constituency. My task was to inaugurate a vigorous country- 
church program. All sorts of community projects were under- 
taken. With contributed labor we built half a mile of sidewalk 
from the railroad station to the town hall and the two churches. 
We organized an athletic club and a singing society. We pro- 
moted play festivals. We arranged an excellent lecture course. 
We made a survey of the tuberculosis situation in the community 
and got the State Commissioner of Public Health to come from 
Topeka and discuss it. We made another survey of the wheat, 
corn, and livestock produced in the community. On the basis 
of this survey the chief of the College's extension service met 
with us and presented a plan for organizing a co-operative grain 


elevator and store. We also arranged a number of "farm demon- 
strations/' With some farmer as host who specialized in thorough- 
bred cattle, a specialist in animal husbandry from the College 
would be present to discuss the fine points of that specialty. Or 
some farmer who had an orchard of which he was proud would 
Invite his friends and neighbors over to meet a specialist in 
horticulture who would discuss the special problems of the 

It was somewhat the same general pattern I had followed in 
the Adirondacks. I was "up to my neck" in all sorts of activities. 
I was urging my people on before they were ready to go, and 
I met with difficulties. The first difficulty was with the com- 
munity's other church. To that church I was a threat. Its mem- 
bers were not enthusiastic in their support of our "neighbor- 
hood association" and of its community-service projects. Then 
my own people began to balk. I left after two years, feeling that 
all was a failure, but taking with me one thing of crucial im- 
portance in the years that have followed, the friendship of 
Arthur Holt. 

In view of this second failure, I was now being advised by my 
friends to go back into social studies. But I still felt that my 
main contribution ought to be in the field of definitely religious 
work, and I could not give up the hope of redeeming myself in 
Alices eyes. Therefore, I took a church once more, this time in 
North Anson, Maine, at a salary of nine hundred dollars a year, 
Here I stayed two years. I had by this time learned some lessons. 
I was better able to listen and to wait, but I was still centering 
my attention upon programs of community service. I think 
I can say that in this pastorate I was not a failure. The church 
held its own, and I was not thrown out. But there was no great 


There was no change In the situation so far as Alice was con- 
cerned. After leaving Lowell early in 1912, she "rested" while 
working half-time in Cleveland. Then in 1913 she took a 
position with the Young Women's Christian Association on 
Chicago's West Side. I tried unsuccessfully to see her during 
my stay in Wabaunsee and again while in North Anson. One 
gain there was. Since 1912 there had heen no recurrence of 
that physical reaction of weakness. But I felt myself to be in the 
situation of a man who has ventured to climb some great 
mountain, and finds himself in mid-air, unable to get any foot- 
hold or any refuge. To find some validation of the faith which 
had led me, I was ready to grasp at anything. The very fact 
that Alice refused me any satisfaction left me, I felt, with no 
alternative but to strive to become in some measure worthy of 
her. Never once did,, L mtertain the thought of giving up. 
Then came World War L ^ 

I at once appliedf for "aTpSsition as secretary with the Overseas 
Young Men's Christian Association and I was among the first to 
be sent to France, arriving there in September, 1917. I was im- 
mediately assigned to the machine-gun battalion of the First 
Division's Sixteenth Infantry. Though I did not know it at the 
time, I was with the same regiment which my mother's grand- 
father Richard Dennis had commanded in the War of 1812. In 
May, 1918, I was transferred to the Forty-Second, or "Rainbow" 
Division. Here I met with an artillery regiment from my own 
home state of Indiana. They were shooting over my head all the 
time we were in the Baccarat sector of France. When we left 
for the Champagne defensive, the boys from Indiana University 
asked to have me assigned to their battery. Throughout the rest 
of the war I traveled with Battery F of the i5oth Field Artillery, 
seeing action at Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, and the Argonne, 


and marching with them to the Rhine. Norman Nash, the regi- 
mental chaplain, later bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massa- 
chusetts, to whom I am so deeply indebted, was my associate 
during the twelve months I spent with this Division. 

When the Forty-Second left for home, I went with my old 
chief, Warren Wilson of the Presbyterian Board of Home 
Missions, to start a school for our soldiers not far from Coblenz. 
Dr. Wilson, who had come to Germany under the auspices of 
the Young Men's Christian Association on an educational as- 
signment, had conceived the idea of helping the boys to under- 
stand and interpret, with minimum reliance upon textbooks, 
the experiences with which they were being confronted. In 
accordance with that idea he himself undertook a sociological 
survey of the village of Grenzhausen, where we were billeted. 
I had a class in history in which, under the guidance of an 
elderly German forester, we began by visiting the old Roman 
front-line trenches, the "limes," which resembled so strikingly 
the trenches with which our boys were familiar. We inspected 
the old Roman watchtowers, which had been reconstructed by 
the University of Bonn. We visited a casde on the Rhine and 
examined the coats of mail there on display, and from this 
castle we gazed at the factories and cities of industrial Germany. 
Our guide piloted us also through the communal forest. After 
each of these trips we met and discussed what we had seen, and 
considered its meaning. After some ten days of fascinating ex- 
ploration, I was "called on the carpet/* It had come to the 
attention of the commanding general, Johnson Hagood, that 
I was teaching the boys German forestry. He wanted it clearly 
understood that I could teach all the French forestry I wanted 
to, but no German forestry! 

Upon my return to America in July, 1919, I found a job 


awaiting me. American churchmen at that time were dreaming 
great dreams. The world was to be made safe for democracy. 
President Wilson's hope was to become reality. To that end 
they had organized the Interchurch World Movement, and as 
a first step a world-wide survey was to be made. I was offered 
the position of director of the North Dakota Rural Survey. 

But first of all 1 had a problem of my own which needed to 
be solved now or never. All through the war the thought of 
Alice had been with me. Even though we had not written to 
each other I had kept track of her. I knew that she was still in 
Chicago but that in 1918, because of the long and irregular 
working hours, she had left the Young Women's Christian Asso- 
ciation and was working in a bank. A trip to Chicago was there- 
fore imperative. This I took, but I found her adamant in her 
refusal to see me. I was dazed. It seemed an impossible ending. 
But I did not give way to the reaction of weakness, as in the 
earlier rebuffs. For several days I remained in Chicago, pleading 
with her. Then there came upon me a trancelike state similar to the 
one in Washington in 1908, and with many of the same ideas. 
It seemed that there must be some other man and that I was 
standing in the way. I wrote then, telling her of that Washington 
experience and of my readiness to make any sacrifice for her 
sake which it represented, even to the point of giving her to 
another man. Her reply to that letter was silence. 

Back in Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts, at my sister's summer 
cottage, I felt that I was going to pieces. I therefore wrote de- 
clining the position with the Interchurch World Movement 
which had been offered me. Shortly after I had mailed this 
letter, it came to me that this was a weak and unmanly thing 
to do. I therefore wired my acceptance and went at once to 
Fargo, North Dakota. 


Then it came to me that I had been incredibly Hind and 
stupid in my dealings with Alice, and on my arrival in North 
Dakota, I began to write to her regularly, giving much time and 
thought to the letters and trying to make them interesting and 
helpful to us both. To this plan she gave her consent. Accord- 
ingly I wrote a long account of my experiences with the Army 
overseas. I worked out an illustrated lecture on the country 
church. I wrote out several sermons, and I tried to formulate 
anew a confession of faith. These productions, as I read them 
over now, still seem worth while. They should have helped to 
allay the fears for my sanity which she may have had. In any 
case, she wrote several times briefly; and in a longer letter 
which I still have, she explained her position, her willingness 
always that we should be friends, provided it were clearly under- 
stood that it was and could be nothing more. I replied that I 
had rather have just her friendship than the love of any other 
woman in the world. 

Meanwhile, things had not been going well with the Inter- 
church World Movement, and it had become clear that the 
Movement was going to fold up. At this juncture I received a 
tempting offer from Arthur Holt, whom I had known at Wa- 
baunsee. He was now director of the Congregational Social Serv- 
ice Commission and he wanted me to join his staff, with a study 
of the Congregational colleges of the country as our first proj- 
ect. After careful consideration I decided against it. I still felt 
that my chief contribution ought to lie somehow or other in 
working out the message which seemed to me implicit in the 
religious experience through which I had passed, rather than 
in the gathering of facts and figures on social and religious 
conditions. More than that, 1 was counting now on Alice's help* 

My hopes ran high when in June of 1920 she invited me to 


call on the way back east from North Dakota. In her letter she 
said that she was still uncertain about the wisdom of her deci- 
sion to see me. However, she wrote, if I would not be daunted 
by the presence of three maiden ladies and would not expect 
her to make an opportunity for me to talk with her alone, she 
would be glad to have me come to dinner with her "family/* 
This family, she explained, included her sister Anne, and their 
friend, Miss Catherine Wilson, who was like another sister. Of 
course I was not "daunted." Sharp at six-thirty on Sunday 
evening I was admitted into their five-room apartment some five 
miles out on Chicago's West Side. And so we met for the first 
time in nine years. I found her all that I had dreamed, with only 
the changes a man would wish to see in the woman he loved. 

She did not permit me to see her again and she was still em- 
phatic in saying that her first answer was final and could not be 
changed; but of this visit she wrote that "something really tangible 
had been accomplished/' and she expressed her pleasure that 
I had decided to take a church. 




MY PLANS for a pastorate ran into unexpected difficulties. 
Churches were not too plentiful, especially for a man whose 
record as a pastor had been no better than mine. Wherever 
I was being considered, the first question was likely to be, "Are 
you married?" and the second, "Do you expect to be married?" 
Neither of these questions could be answered in the affirmative. 
I would then be told that I must be content with a "modest" 
church. This meant, I soon discovered, a salary so low as scarcely 
to permit marriage if things worked out as I still hoped they 
might. It seemed as though I had come up against an impassable 

I was therefore forced to wait. I found temporary employment 
at the Interchurch offices in New York, and Fred Eastman in- 
vited me to visit him at his home in East Williston, Long 
Island. Fred, by this time, was well started on a successful 
career. His Locust Valley pastorate had been a very happy one. 
During the war he had done his bit as business manager of the 
Red Cross Magazine, and he had just taken an important posi- 
tion as educational secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Home 
Missions. He had married Lilla Morse, one of our former class- 



mates at Union. With them and with their two boys I spent 
a delightful six weeks. Each evening we took a short auto- 
mobile ride, spent an hour and a half at work, played a few 
hands of "500," and turned in usually by ten o'clock. I was in 
the best of physical condition, and the future was looking really 

Early in October, 1920, I returned to the home of my sister 
in Arlington, Massachusetts, where she and her husband had 
just purchased a twelve-room house quite close to the Center. 
Here they lived with their two children, a girl of fourteen and 
a boy of eight. Mother made her home with them. Here I at 
once started to do something which I had been turning over in 
my mind for a number of days. 

Nine years before, when Fred Eastman and I had come up 
together before the Brooklyn Presbytery, we had been required 
to write out and submit a Statement of Religious Experience 
and a Statement of Belief. It seemed to me that I was now 
entering upon a new period and was in a very real sense offering 
myself anew. Would it not therefore be fitting that I should 
try to reformulate my message and re-examine my religious ex- 

On October 2 I began work on the Statement of Religious 
Experience, writing it in the form of a letter to my old pastor, 
Dr. Luccock, who was at that time chairman of the committee 
on vacancies of the Presbyterian Church. It covered in about 
four thousand words what is now included in the preceding 
portion of this record. I then turned to the Statement of Belief. 

I threw myself into the task, became intensely absorbed in it, 
so much so that I lay awake at night letting ideas take shape of 
themselves. This was for me nothing new. Writing has never 
been easy for me, and it is only under strong feeling and con- 


centrated attention that ideas begin to come. I was therefore 
merely following what I regarded as a necessary and, for me, 
normal method of work. This time, however, the absorption 
went beyond the ordinary. I was no longer interested in any- 
thing else, and I spent all the time possible in my room, writing. 

All went well for three or four days. I completed the State- 
ment of Experience and began on the Statement of Belief. While 
working one day on the Statement of Belief I think it was 
Wednesday, October 6 some strange ideas came surging into my 
mind, ideas of doom, ideas of my own unsuspected importance. 
With them began the frank psychosis, as shown in the docu- 
ments which follow. 

Here is the Statement of Belief as I wrote it: 

I believe in the Love which came to my rescue on that 
Easter morning long years ago, the Love that has pitied my 
weakness and borne with my failures and forgiven my sins, 
which has lighted my way through the dark nights of 
despair and has guided me through the awful wilderness 
of die insane, where the going is difficult and very danger- 
ous. I believe that this Love is one with the God who 
through all the ages has sought to make himself known to 
the children of men. 

I believe that this God was once perfectly revealed in 
the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. His patience 
with our shortcomings, his compassion upon our infirmi- 
ties, his unfaltering faith in men, even in his enemies, 
and his method of dealing with them, not through force, 
but through the power of love, culminating in his death 
upon the cross, where he died, the just for the unjust, the 
perfect for the imperfect, the strong for the weak. 

And this process has been going on for nineteen centu- 
ries. The strong have been giving themselves for the weak 
and the perfect for the imperfect. A crossing process has 


thus resulted. The divine, in consequence, has been com- 
ing into the world disguised in ugliness, crippled by dis- 
ease, shackled by sin, and impotent with weakness. 

I believe that the weak and the imperfect should no 
longer accept this sacrifice and that they should be willing 
to give their lives, the imperfect for the perfect and the 
weak for the strong, that the divine may be freed from its 
prison house of infirmity and be able to come into the world 
in beauty and in power and not in disguise, and that the 
reign of love may be able to replace that of brute force and 
ruthless competition, where survival goes to the strong 
and to the merciless. And even as the divine has pitied 
our weakness and loved us in our imperfection, so the weak 
and the imperfect should take pity upon its suffering and 

I believe in the immortality of the human soul and in 
the survival of the personality. I believe that life consists 
of two cycles, one in the flesh and one in the embryonic 
condition. These cycles consist of strong-weak and perfect- 
imperfect combinations, in which the strong is mated with 
the weak and the perfect with the imperfect. I believe that 
a reversal of this combination would secure a better race. 
This would come through the refusal of the weak and the 
imperfect to accept their claim of pity and of need. I be- 
lieve that such a refusal will alone release the divine from 
its prison-house and enable it to overcome the world. This 
should do away with death and establish communication 
throughout the world. 

I believe that the family should consist of four and not 
of two, of the strong and the perfect and of the guardian 
angels, who in the joy of serving and sharing in the happi- 
ness of those they love will find compensation for the sacri- 
fices which some will always have to make. And the guardian 
angels, no longer in the darkness of the tomb, but in 
the light of life, may select for those they love the true 
mate and the true friend. 


I believe that the Kingdom of God will be a new order 
of society, founded upon the principle of love and gov- 
erned by the Great Spirit who wills that not even the least 
of his little ones should perish, but that all should have 
life. All shall then live together in harmony with each 
other and with the laws of the Universe, and poverty 
and pain and disease shall be done away. And there shall 
be no more death, for the cycle will be completed, proceed- 
ing from generation to generation and from one world to 

Within this Statement of Belief it is possible to observe the 
transition into the abnormal state. It began without evidence 
of undue exaltation beyond what may have been implicit in the 
plan itself, but about the end of the second paragraph a change 
occurs. I can remember distinctly x how it came to me as I was 
sitting at my desk there in my sister's home on October 6, 192,0, 
trying to determine what to say and pondering over what I had 
included in my ordination statement of nine years before. Sud- 
denly there came surging into my mind with tremendous power 
this idea about the voluntary sacrifice of the weak for the sake 
of the strong. Along with this came a curious scheme which 
I copied down mechanically and kept repeating over and over 
again, as if learning a lesson. This scheme is shown in the 
diagram on page 82. Where it came from I cannot imagine. 
I can remember nothing in my previous reading which would 
even remotely suggest it. It was indeed precisely this fact which 

1 As of 1923, when I was copying the letters given me by Dr. Worcester 
and trying to record what I could remember of the experience I had been 
through (see p. 144). In that effort I had the benefit of memories which 
were still vivid. I had also before me the Statement of Experience written 
at the time of onset (see p. 78). This in turn drew upon the Statement of 
Experience written in 1911 for presentation at the Brooklyn Presbytery, and 
this aoain in turn drew upon a record, now lost, which went back to Washing- 
ton in 1908 and to the Easter experience of 1898. The continuity of these 
experiences may probably be assumed. 


so impressed me. Besides, the impact was terrific, and I felt 

myself caught up, as it were, into another world. 









There were other ideas, those of "life in two cycles," of an 
"embryonic condition," of "guardian angels/* all coming from 
no known source, but receiving little or no further attention. 
But the idea about the voluntary sacrifice of the weak for the 
sake of the strong and of the f amily-of-f our remained constant, not 
only in this but in subsequent episodes. It seemed to have mean- 
ing. It seemed that there were other men in the same position as 
myself. Their only hope of salvation lay in their love for some 
good woman, and in that fact lay hardship and suffering for the 
woman, and a real loss to society, since it would be only the 
finer type of woman who would be moved by such an appeal. 
There ought to be a way out, and the family-of-four scheme 
seemed to provide the answer. The essence of this idea was 
that of producing a thoroughbred type of character by setting 
the best types free from the appeal of those whose love was 
based on need. This was to be done by letting them choose mates,, 


each for the other. Just how this was to be done was by no 
means clear, beyond the one principle that the true lover must 
be willing to give his place to another and that all self-seeking 
must be ruled out. 

This Statement of Belief therefore demanded of me that 
I should give up the hope that had dominated my life for seven- 
teen long years. Everything then began to whirl. It seemed that 
the world was coming to an end. This planet which we call 
the Earth was just a tiny organism in the vast universe, and now 
after millions and millions of years of development, a period 
long only to us, it was hurrying on at a rapidly accelerating 
speed toward some impending change. It had become mature and 
a transformation was about to take place. It was like a seed or an 
ego which had stored up within it the food materials which the 

DO -. 

new being will need, and the new being, as it develops, draws 
upon the reserve of food until it is used up. Then it breaks 
through the outer covering and emerges into a new environment. 
So now after all these millions of years humanity was just be- 
ginning to draw upon the stored up resources, and already 
after the short space of a hundred years, some of those re- 
sources are approaching exhaustion. Some sort of change was 
due. Only a few of the tiny atoms we call "men" were to be 
saved. I was not to be one of these. I might, however, be of help 
to others. 

Momentous issues were therefore involved, and I sent the 
two documents to Fred Eastman, together with a letter elabo- 
rating upon the ideas contained in the Statement of Belief, par- 
ticularly that of the family-of-four. The high tension under 
which this letter was written is evidenced by the fact that the 
typing is almost illegible, due to an improperly adjusted ribbon 


which I was too excited to fix. This letter was written immedi- 
ately after the Statement of Belief. It reads as follows: 


Nine years ago you followed one of your class-mates to 
Missouri. You found him a crotchety fellow, hard to get 
along with, and you had to part with him. But you for- 

fave him. You helped him when he was out of work. You 
ave taken him into your home and fed him. You have 
helped him in innumerable ways. Such things you have 
been doing right along. You have eyes to see where need 
exists, and a heart to respond. I look upon you as my best 
friend, a perfect friend, and I come to you with a problem 
which concerns me deeply. 

I have been having some strange ideas these last two 
weeks. You may think that I am insane, for the problems 
with which I have been concerned lie beyond the usual. 
But some of them may be important. 

May there not be something to this idea that our present 
system of mating is one of competition and that every time 
a child is born another possible child has to give up its 
right to exist. The "family of four" plan, by doing away 
with the cross-breeding, could prevent such loss and bring 
into the world not the spiritual averages, but the positives 
and negatives. If it is true and it seems to me reasonable 
that life consists of two cycles with a strong-weak and 
a perfect-imperfect combination, then a double positive in 
the one makes a double negative in the other. Thus my 
father would be a strong-strong-imperfect, while I would 
be a weak-weak-imperfect. And we both have to perish 
because no one will recognize him in "one of these least." 
The very strong can only be produced by permitting the 
very weak to exist. The man whose love is really nothing 
but a despairing call for help has little chance of finding 
that help in our present system of mating. 

It is my deep conviction that my case is not one of 


ordinary insanity. I have not been bothered recently with 
troublesome thoughts, and the motive which has sustained 
me throughout this affair is not desire but the conviction 
that I was really acting in obedience to a divine command. 
I thought that command was to go forward, but it seems 
not. It is rather to get out of the way. If it is really true, as 
it has come to me, that I represent a personality which for 
nineteen centuries has been trying without success to 
solve one problem, then I have been an impediment in 
the fight, and it is time for me to give up. Victory, after 
all, is only won at the cost of sacrifice, and the right re- 
sponse to the sacrifice on Calvary is voluntary self-sacri- 
fice on the part of the unfit. The sacrificial acts of the old 
Testament were inflicted upon the victims. The sacrifices 
we will now be called upon to make will be self-inflicted 
and in accordance with the law of love. . . . 

And yet I feel that there has been some definite purpose 
in this journey of mine. That purpose, it seems, is to give 
my place to some other man. I want a chance for my 
father and for what he could do in the world. The one 
woman who has the power to make this possible will think 
me insane if I write to her directly. You offered once to 
make a trip for me, if it should be necessary. I should like 
to have you go and see her and lay the case before her. 
You have been a perfect friend. Therefore I dare to ask 
this of you. My thought would be a quiet ceremony, a little 
time together. Then I would eliminate myself. I could not 
ask such a thing for myself, but only for my father. 

If the matings of the future are in fours, then it should 
be easy to produce and maintain the great man and his 

This letter was not included in the record which I gave to 
Alice in 1923. Immediately after mailing it to Fred Eastman 
I was greatly horrified by it, and in the letter I sent her I re- 
verted to the idea that there must be some other man. 


It will be clear that I was becoming more and more excited 
and bewildered, and the ideas were more and more foreign to 
my usual modes of thought. 

For several days I said nothing to my family, but finally I 
broke the rule of silence and began to share my fears. Then 
came another source of terror. After talking somewhat freely 
one morning, it came to me that there were other forces, hostile 
forces of which I had not dreamed before. There were, it seemed, 
other dimensions of which we are not ordinarily aware. It seemed 
that the world was all ears, and the words which I had spoken 
would bring about my undoing, and defeat the cause with which 
I was concerned. 

On Saturday afternoon about three o'clock, according to a 
letter to Fred Eastman of November, 1920, I suddenly felt a 
sickening sensation, something I could not account for. I went 
down at once to see Mother and told her that something awful 
had happened. I did not know what it was, but 1 thought I had 
been '"betrayed." Then I went into the next room and found 
there a man I did not know. This was a physician who had been 
called in, but I did not know it at the time, for he did not 
question me. He just watched and listened. 

Meanwhile, my family had become greatly alarmed and I was 
myself not without some appreciation of the situation. I recall 2 
remarking at supper on the final evening that ^e^groUejnj)?. 
insanity was of great importance, and J[ ,.Had iw detennined Jtojit. 
vestigate it. But "injf first' mtimation that they were thinking of 
sending me to a hospital was when six policemen came march- 
ing into the room where I was working, and one of them an- 
nounced that 1 had better come quietly or there would be trouble. 

The size of the squad gave evidence of my family's alarm. 

2 A memory as o 1923. 


I have, however, not only my own memory but their assurance 
that there was at no time any manifestation of violence on my 

The story of the week that followed I wrote two and a half 
years later for Dr. Macfie Campbell's seminar at the Boston 
Psychopathic Hospital, the institution to which I was sent. It 
reads as follows: 

1 was brought to the Psychopathic Hospital on Saturday 
night, October 9, 1920, about 10 P.M. and stayed there 
until the following Saturday or Sunday. I was then trans- 
ferred to the Westboro State Hospital. The length of my 
stay was thus about one week, but it seemed like thousands 
of years. Throughout this entire period I was in a violent 
delirium and spent most of the time reposing in cold-packs 
or locked up in one of the small rooms on Ward 2, often 
pounding on the door and singing. How much of the 
time I was unconscious, I do not know, but I can remem- 
ber quite distinctly what was going on in my head as well 
as my actual behavior. It has seemed to me worth while to 
make a record of these memories while they are still rela- 
tively fresh in my mind and yet far enough away so that I 
can see them in some degree of perspective. 

My first memory is that of Dr. Gale filling out the ad- 
mission blank, and of one particular remark he made. I had 
asked that I might be taken to a certain friend whom I 
trusted, because I did not want to talk to doctors whom 
I did not know. Dr. Gale said, "That is clear proof that he 
belongs here/' 

Just what happened that night I do not remember. Per- 
haps the knock-out drops had begun to take effect. The 
next thing I can remember happened the next morning. 
I was lying on the bed, apparently asleep, when I heard one 
of the nurses say, "He is here on a homicidal and suicidal 
charge. There must be some mistake. He does not look in 
the least violent. He ought to be on Ward 4." This hit me 


like a thunderbolt, I knew that I had never had the slightest 
thought of injuring any one, and as for the idea of taking 
my own life, that had been held only for a short time and 
immediately rejected. Such a charge was clear evidence 
that evil forces were at work. 

That morning I was transferred to Ward 4. Here I was 
subjected to a lot of personal questions by a nice-looking 
young fellow who did not have on a white coat. I was in- 
troduced to another patient who was said to be a Harvard 
professor. His name, I believe, was Nicholls. But I kept 
getting more and more excited. I was invited to play check- 
ers and started to do so, but I could not go on. I was too 
much absorbed in my own thoughts, particularly those re- 
garding the approaching end of the world and those 
responsible for the use of force and for the charge of 
homicidal intent. By nightfall my head was all in a whirl. 
It seemed to be the Day of Judgment and all humanity 
came streaming in from four different directions as in the 
accompanying diagram. They all came in to a common 

center. There they were brought before the judgment seat. 
But it seemed to be an automatic sort of judgment. Each 
individual judged himself. There were certain pass-words 


and they made certain choices. Each person had three 
chances: a difficult "right the first time affair/' a second 
choice which involved an element of sacrifice and meant 
that one would become a woman and not a man. The other 
was only a seeming chance which sent one at once to the 
lower regions. These lower regions did not seem to be 
anything very fixed. The whole thing was like a vast 
circulatory system. Each human being was like a corpuscle 
in the blood stream and we all kept going around and 
around and around and around. All the time choices were 
being made and some were being sent below and some 
above. I had at the time the idea that my consciousness 
had gone to a lower level. Something, I thought, was short- 

That night, as I lay in bed, the idea came surging into 
my head: "You are in the wrong place here in this com- 
fortable ward. You ought to be down-stairs/* I thereupon 
requested that I be allowed to go to the other ward. The 
attendant replied, "Go back to bed or we will have to 
take you to Ward 2,." Seeing that nothing was to be gained 
by requests, I took his suggestion and began to raise a dis- 
turbance, calling out at the top of my lungs the first and 
craziest thing that came into my head. This happened to 
be, "I've got to go insane in order to get married." I was 
thereupon promptly removed. 

In Ward 2, I was given first the little room in the south 
east comer. I was tremendously excited. In some way, I 
could not tell how, I felt myself joined t ojito some super- 
human source of strength. The idea came, "Your friends 
are coming to help you/' I seemed to feel new life pulsing 
all through me. And it seemed that a lot of new worlds 
were forming. There was music everywhere and rhythm 
and beauty. But the plans were always thwarted. I heard 
what seemed to be a choir of angels* I thought it the most 
beautiful music 1 had ever heard. Two of the airs I kept 
repeating over and over until the delirium ended. One of 


them I can remember imperfectly even now. This choir of 
angels kept hovering around the hospital and shortly after- 
ward I heard something about a little lamb being born up- 
stairs in the room just above mine. This excited me greatly 
and next morning I made some inquiries about that little 
lamb. One of the other patients, whose name I believe was 
Gardner, drawled out, "Say, stranger, did you ask^ about 
a lamb? There was one left in my room last night/* This, 
of course confirmed me in my belief, and I immediately 
accepted this fellow-patient as the embodiment of a very 
exalted personage, who as I thought had assumed this form 
and with it a very loathsome disease of some sort. I tried 
to talk with him to find out something definite. There 
were, it seemed, certain tokens left by the angels which 
were to be exchanged between us. But no sooner did we 
get a few words together than the attendants would be upon 
us. Before long I found myself locked in my room. But 
Gardner, who was still free wandered up and down the 
ward whistling and smiling. I thought there was some sort 
of system to it which I could not quite catch, and it seemed 
to me that he soon had the whole ward happy. The ceiling 
seemed to be raised and the entire room resonant with 
music. But I was worrying about that lamb, and I kept in- 
quiring about it. The idea came, "The doctors were very 
much interested in it and they immediately killed it and 
preserved it in alcohol because of its scientific interest/' 

During the day I was visited by a certain Dr. Klopp, 
who was said to be a distinguished physician from another 
state. He had heard that I had some important ideas about 
saving people. He was very much interested in this prob- 
lem and he wondered if I would be willing to tell him 
about them. I rather liked Dr. Klopp s looks, but I replied 
that I had rather not talk. He immediately went away. 
This raised my opinion of him greatly and made me think 
I had made a mistake. Several times afterward I inquired 
about Dr. Klopp. 


The next night I was visited, not by angels, but by a lol 
of witches. I had the room next to the one I had occupied 
the night before. There was, as I remember it, nothing in 
it but a mattress on the floor. It seemed that the walls were 
of peculiar construction. There was, it seemed a double 
wall and I could hear a constant tap-tapping along the 
walls, all done according to some system. This was due, it 
seemed, to the detectives in the employ of the evil powers 
who were out to locate the exact place where I was* Then 
the room was filled with the odor of brim-stone. I was told 
that witches were around and from the ventilator shaft 
1 picked up paper black cats and broom-sticks and poke bon- 
nets. I was greatly exercised, and I stuffed my blanket into the 
ventilator shaft. I finally not only worked out a way of 
checking the invasion of the black cats, but I found some 
sort of process of regeneration which could be used to save 
other people. I had, it seemed, broken an opening in the 
wall which separated medicine and religion. I was told to 
feel on the back of my neck and I would find there a sign 
of my new mission. I thereupon examined and found a 
shuttle-like affair about three-fourths of an inch long. 

In the morning Dr. O'Brien wanted to know why I had 
put that blanket in the ventilator shaft. I thought there 
was an evil gleam in his eye, as he spoke. Then I made 
some remark about the sign on my neck. The doctor 
laughed a peculiar laugh and said he'd better put some 
iodine on it. He started to do this but I broke away and 
ordered him to be careful. He seemed to be frightened, 
though I had no thought of touching him. 

I believe that the examination before the staff came on 
that day, Tuesday, October 12,, though I am by no means 
sure. As I remember it, there were a number of women 
present, who sat, most of them, on the south side of the 
room. I think it was in the library rather than in the 
assembly-room on the third floor. I cannot remember the 
books, but I do not recall climbing any stairs, and 1 re- 


member very distinctly that when the examination was 
over, I took it into my head to wander down the corridor, 
to the east and was promptly subdued by four or five at- 

As to the examination itself, I can remember Dr. Camp- 
bell's pleasant manner and his snapping eyes and the many 
questions he asked me. Most of the time my answers were 
very slow. I was sunk in my own thoughts and I tried to 
wait until the answers came of themselves. The questions 
seemed to center about my ideas of the "family of four." 
Other questions had to do with my delusions of grandeur. 
I had myself something to say about having come to the 
end of the trail and having gone all the way around the 
circuit. I also expressed my indignation at being brought 
in before all those women in a bath-robe. I was also in- 
dignant at being brought to the hospital by force. I could 
not talk unless I were free. Dr. Campbell made some re- 
marks about the need of avoiding force in committing 
patients. This raised my opinion of him but it did not 
mollify me sufficiently to permit me to shake hands with 
him when it came time to leave. 

Then followed my first, though not my last experience 
in a cold-pack. I was much interested in the proceedings 
and saw two possible explanations. Dr. Campbell had just 
extracted from me the admission that I was a very exalted 
personage. Either they were going to exploit me in some 
horrible way, or else there was a more benevolent purpose, 
that of demonstrating to me the error of my ideas of 
grandeur. As nearly as I can remember, I really hoped 
that they might succeed in the latter purpose for those 
ideas were agonizingand I awaited the results of the 
demonstration with much interest. But all that happened 
was that I became unconscious. That for me was the usual 
effect of the cold-pack. Aside from these periods in the 
cold-pack I did little sleeping* 


The following night I seemed to be in some labyrinthine 
tunnels deep down in the recesses of the earth. Part of the 
time I was drugged with what I was told was "bismuth." 
This, it seemed, was the drug they used to preserve the old 
Egyptian mummies. It was a very peculiar drug, and the 
amount of it one had in his system determined to what 
level he belonged. There were thirty-two such levels. At the 
thirty-second level a man would be utterly prostrate and 
unable to rise except as some one should come and give 
him pure water to drink. At one time I was thus prostrate. 

A little later I found myself wandering through these 
subterranean tunnels until at last way down deep I came 
upon a horse-blanket within which was wrapped up some 
peculiar white linen fabric. These it seemed were some 
most sacred relics. They were connected with the search 
for the Holy Grail and represented the prof oundest spiritual 
struggle of the centuries. Then I found that by lying 
fiat on the floor near the ventilator shaft, I could hear the 
most beautiful voice I had ever heard. It was the celebra- 
tion of the Last Supper. Towards morning it came to me 
that I must begin with the single cell and that I must make 
friends with a certain attendant for whom I felt a particu- 
lar dislike. I tried to do this and I thought he seemed 
very well pleased with himself. A little later he brought 
me my food, an unusually generous portion, but I refused 
to eat it, because I thought it was drugged. I remember also 
some voices going through a ritualistic service in a sing- 
song fashion which was distasteful to me and sounded in- 
sincere. They kept repeating over and over again the 
phrase, "Little lamb, little lamb/' I thought I recognized 
in the priest the attendant with whom I had tried to make 
the alliance. 

I had now come to the place where I no longer dis- 
tinguished day from night. I had become an old stallion 
who had remained behind at the time of the flood in order 


to help his friends escape and had been forgotten by them. 
He was now imprisoned and exploited by a lot of un- 
principled medical men and nurses. The only way of 
escaping was by having my head cut off. I was locked in 
my room now and I kept getting wilder and wilder, singing 
and shouting and pounding the glass on the door with fists 
and elbows. I was ordered to be quiet but this only made 
me pound the more violently, until I was placed in a cold- 
pack once more. 

Then I found myself in the Moon. The idea of being 
in the Moon had been present almost from the beginning 
of the week. Now this became an outstanding feature. The 
Moon seemed ordinarily quite far away, but really it was 
very near. The medical men knew about it and they had 
perfected a way of spiriting people away and burying them 
alive in a cell in the Moon, while in the meantime some 
designing person, a sort of double, would take their place 
in this world. Everything was run in a very strange way 
in the Moon. It was done in the most scientific manner. 
It seemed that it was the abode of departed spirits and all 
the interests were frankly and openly concerned with the 
problem of reproduction and of sex. Really it was quite 
appalling. It seemed that upon one's advent in the Moon 
the sex was likely to change and one of the first things 
the doctors tried to determine was whether you were a 
man or woman. They had certain delicate instruments for 
determining that. When they examined me I heard them 
say in great surprise, "He is a perfect neutral." It seemed 
that the needle was not deflected in either direction. I was 
thus not consignable to either side and thus they had no 
power over me. In that lay my hope of safety, also in the 
injunction, 'Tell the exact truth," instead of depending 
upon some token or pass-word as others did. It was very 
important to be on one's guard, for it seemed that they had 
a peculiar custom of chopping off one's head and sending 


one down an invisible chute to the lower regions. This was 
done in a matter of fact, scientific manner, just as they 
slaughter cattle in Chicago. 

At one time I succeeded in climbing into the sun, but 
through some clumsiness, I managed to destroy the balance 
of things and my friends and relatives in the sun suffered 
heavily in consequence. Thousands and thousands of 
them lost their lives. Their blood seemed to gush into my 
throat and I was nearly strangled with it. I kept groaning, 
"My friends, my friends, my friends," But I kept straggling 
in the effort to restore the balance and keep the floor of my 
room from tipping up and sending everything down to 
the lower regions. 

I was engaged in this interesting occupation when the 
door opened and several men appeared, among them Dr 
O'Brien. They had my clothing with them and they 
wanted me to put it on. It was of course part of a plot to 
undo me, so I refused and resisted. I had therefore the 
honor of being transported to Westboro in a strait jacket. 


The transfer to Westboro State Hospital took place about 
October 16, 1920. For about two weeks I remained acutely 
disturbed. Then I snapped out of it, much as one awakens out of 
a bad dream. Early in November, I was transferred to the 
convalescent ward, and I began at once trying to figure out what 
had happened to me. I tried to recall and record all that I could. 
I studied other patients and I besieged doctors and nurses with 
questions. What happened at Westboro is best told through the 
letters I wrote at the time. 

The following letter was written about three days after my 
transfer from the disturbed ward, and the day after I had been 
assigned to the convalescent ward. The visit referred to was on 


Thursday, November 4, and the letter was addressed to the 
friend with whom I had been staying on Long Island. 

Novembers, 1920 
Rev. Fred Eastman 
East Williston, L.I. 

I wish to express my deep appreciation of your taking the 
time and trouble to look me up. Your visit has meant a lot 
to me. It has been for me as though I were dead and am 
alive again. I am feeling much stronger and really quite 
like myself. 

I am grateful for the spirit with which you have taken 
this thing. As I look back upon it, I find much that makes 
me blush and shudder. And yet I still feel that the story of 
these last twenty years is not wholly a mistake. I believe 
that there is in it a deeper meaning. In spite of the violence 
of the disturbance, I have not felt myself deserted. I have 
come through feeling that there has been no break in the 
purpose of all these years. 

What the future may bring forth remains to be seen, but 
I feel hopeful. Only one thing gives me apprehension the 
prolongation of my stay in the hospital. I do hope I may 
soon be restored to normal conditions among my friends. 

The second letter to Fred was also written in November of 
the same year. If my memory serves me correctly, I began it on 
Thanksgiving Day and finished it the following Sunday. It was 
received at East Williston on December 4. It was thus written 
within a month from the time I emerged from the psychotic 
condition. It was my response to a letter from Fred suggesting 
that I should make mental illness my special problem. 


I have been doing some thinking along the lines of your 
suggestion, and since I now have plenty of time on my 


hands, I am going to set down some of my provisional con- 

I suppose every inmate of such a place as this has ideas 
and theories of his own and feels much aggrieved because 
others will not accept them. I feel, however, that I have 
some understanding of my own case. I have heen dealing 
with it for twenty years, and you will remember that prac- 
tically all my Seminary work centered around this prob- 
lem. 3 What I shall give you is therefore really the result of 
twenty years of study, rather than just recently formed con- 
clusions, except in so far as my conclusions have been in- 
fluenced by this recent experience. 

As I look around me here and then try to analyze my 
own case, I would distinguish two main types of insanity. 
In the one there is some organic trouble, a defect in the 
brain or a disorder in the nervous system, or some disease 
of the blood. In the other there is no organic difficulty. 
The body is strong and the brain is in good working order. 
The difficulty lies in the disorganization of the patient's 
world. Something has upset the foundations upon which 
his ordinary reasoning processes are based. Death or dis- 
appointment compel a re-organization of his world from 
the bottom up. That, I think, has been my trouble, and it is 
the trouble with many others also. 

You have, if I remember aright, a fairly full account 
which I gave you last month. 4 I may therefore point out 
that the key is to be found in the Easter experience of 
1898. A new idea brought relief and hope and newness of 
life, when all had seemed darkness and despair, an idea 

3 The reference here is to my interest in the psychology of religion and o 
mysticism. At the time this letter was written I did not know that such a man 
as Sigmund Freud existed. My work in the psychology of religion had heen 
done under the guidance of Professor George A. Coe, who held that his joh 
as a specialist in the psychology of religion had nothing to do with the 

* The reference here is to the Statement of Religious Experience in the 
letter to Dr. Luccock, which is emhodied in enlarged form in Chapters II 
and III of this record. 


so tremendous that it necessitated a reconstruction of my 
entire philosophy of life. . . * 5 

Now my diagnosis is this: What is involved in my case, 
as well as in many others, is a sort of autohypnosis. I recall 
that in one of Professor Coe's seminars at Union we dis- 
cussed the various means of inducing the hypnotic condi- 
tion. The principle brought out was that the key to it lay 
in the narrowing of attention to a single object or idea. 
One of the group went home and proceeded to fix his 
attention upon an electric light bulb. He succeeded, but he 
also injured his eyes. I take it that my attention was con- 
centrated so completely upon one idea that hypnosis in 
some form was just what might have been expected. Of 
one thing I am sure. There was nothing wrong with the 
mental processes or with the reasoning faculties. Once my 
premises were granted, the conclusions were at least under- 
standable. The fundamental fallacy was, of course, the 
assumption that an idea carried authority because of the 
way in which it came. 

I have been especially puzzled regarding the origin and 
significance of the ideas of grandeur. How is it possible that 
I could ever fancy myself in*" such exalted roles as I did 
in the insane period? I see two possible explanations: 

i . When you give everything you have for a certain end 
and you then feel yourself called upon to give that thing 
up, it is equivalent to giving up your life; and your life 
is for you one with the world and with the universe. This 
principle is expressed mathematically if my memory does 
not betray me by the equation Vo oo. It makes no 
difference how small or insignificant the unit may be, 
if it is divided by zero the quotient is infinity. 

5 Here follows a lengthy and poorly written paragraph in which I point 
out that all my major decisions have been made automatically and they seem 
to have worked out well, even though some of them have heen made under 
a deep sense of personal failure. In the present instance, 192,0, there seems 
to have been progress, rather than failure. For eleven years there had heen 
none of these automatic decisions, and this time I had approached the crisis 
feeling that I had done my part. 


2. When you give up, or think you are giving up all 
that makes life worthwhile, you don't care about anything 
else. Wealth, power, honor have no particular charm. You 
don't care about them, and you know that you don't. You 
therefore feel no enormity in the ideas of grandeur, much 
as you may later be horrified by them. They are felt rather 
as a burden which is wholly unwanted. 

Concerning the particular ideas I shall not attempt any 
explanation. I would only insist that periods of crisis are 
fertile in suggestions, some of which may stand the test of 
experience and some may not. 

I would stress the fact that most of these ideas were not 
in line with my previous experience and thinking. In fact 
they derived their authority in my thinking precisely from 
the fact that they were so absolutely different from any- 
thing I had thought of or heard of before, and because they 
came surging into my mind with such a rush. 

A few days after your visit I was called to the door. 
Dr. Chambers, the assistant superintendent, was there. 
With him were two men, and he wanted to know if I rec- 
ognized them. They were the men who had brought me 
out from the Psychopathic. After a short talk Dr. Cham- 
bers remarked, "Quite a change, isn't there? It's certainly 
a good ad for the hospital." Of course, I was glad to hear 
him say that. I am indeed appreciative of all they have 
done for me here, but with his conclusion I cannot agree. 
If I have recovered, as I think I have, I cannot ascribe it 
to the methods of treatment, but rather to the curative 
forces of the religion which was largely responsible for the 
disturbed condition. 6 

At Westboro I was also violent, but there was no solitary 
confinement there. I was either in the tubs or else on a large 
sleeping porch with a score of other patients. I got a favor- 

6 At this point in the letter comes an account of the period of onset which 
is quoted on p. 86. This is followed by an account of the week at the Psycho- 
pathic Hospital which is given in greater detail in the paper for Dr. Camp- 
heirs seminar on pp. 87 ff. 


able impression of the doctor, but I was still suspicious of 
the nurse and of the chief attendant. I thought the food 
was doped. Here also I thought I was engaged in the same 
great struggle and here also it seemed that the Christ spirit 
was embodied in one of the patients, a young ex-sergeant 
whom I saw helping other patients who could not help 

One of the things which excited me very much was the 
treatment given in the hydrotherapeutic baths. I looked 
upon it as a sort of punishment or persecution. I would 
go repeatedly to the door of the tub-room and ask to take 
the place of one of the men whom I regarded as among 
my friends. One day I think it was October 27 when I 
went there with this request I was ordered to stop. When 
I did not immediately obey, three young attendants threw 
me down on the floor and began to beat me up, starting 
in the small of the back and working upwards. I was then 
carried back to bed. After staying there a little while, it 
came to me that I had done wrong in going back so easily, 
that I ought to have made them finish me up and that 
only thus could I release the spirit I thought imprisoned 
within myself. I went back then and was given a more 
severe beating. I can feel the effects of it now, even after 
five weeks. One of the older attendants told me later that 
I was given what was known as ''the old bughouse knock- 
out." As I was being carried back for I was not able to 
walk I had the momentary consciousness of being once 
more myself. For a day or two I was not able to get up. 
Then on October 29, which happened to be my birth-day, 
I seemed to wake up. On that day I was brought before 
the staff and my doctor remarked, as I was leaving, that I 
had done pretty well. 

One thing which all during my stay in the disturbed 
ward had much to do with the persistence of my delusions 
was the appearance of the Moon. I saw it centered in a 
cross of light. I took that as proof that I was right in 


ascribing great importance to what was happening to me. 
The cross stands for suffering. Therefore the Moon knows 
and the Moon is suffering on my account. But on Wednes- 
day night, as I lay awake on the sleeping porch speculating 
on this dire portent, I made a discovery. When I changed 
my position to a certain spot, the cross no longer appeared. 
The explanation was simple. From that particular spot 
I was looking at the Moon through a hole in the wire 
screening! That discovery was a "big help toward recovery. 
The next day I wrote a letter to my sister for the first time. 
In the afternoon came the visit from you and from her. 
These visits definitely repaired the broken communications 
and did so the more effectively because they came on that 
particular day. After that I improved rapidly and within 
a week I was transferred to the convalescent ward. This 
change of ward released me from many hold-over sugges- 
tions which had power over me so long as I remained on 
the disturbed ward. 

This is a long and wearisome and fragmentary account 
of a very unpleasant experience. I have given it with a defi- 
nite purpose. It suggests what seems to me a very important 
principle: The cure has lain in the faithful carrying through 
of the delusion itself. It also shows that the treatment 
given only made me more violent. So far as I can recall, I 
have never refused to do anything when I was requested 
to do it by some one in whom I had confidence. Neverthe- 
less, I have been given severe beatings, all because in my 
bewilderment I did not obey some harsh order by some 
young attendant. There was little attempt to make use of 
persuasion or to cultivate hopefulness and self-respect. 

The fundamental difficulty seems to me this: A man 
whose fundamental derangement is not of the body but in 
his philosophy of life is sent to a place where they look 
only at the physical side. Most of the doctors, I think, are 
not religious men. Many of them regard religion as a super- 
stition which is responsible for many of the ills they have 


to treat. Such men are not fitted to deal with religious 
problems. If they succeed in their aims, the patient is 
shorn of the faith in which lies his hope of cure. 

As for myself, I have from the beginning recognized 
the abnormal character of my own experience. I have rec- 
ognized that those experiences which have been for me 
so vitally important would be classed by physicians as in- 
sanity. But I have chosen deliberately to follow the thing 
out. I have been following a trail which has taken me 
through some very dangerous country. But I believe it 
has been worth while, and I would make the same choice 
again. Even this experience, painful though it is, may be 
an adventure of which use can be made. There has been 
in my experience so much of the pathological that it is 
perhaps a fitting end to my life's adventure that it should 
lead me to an institution such as this and should open my 
eyes to an important task which needs to be done. The 
only wonder is that I escaped hospitalization in Washing- 
ton, where it would probably have been fatal. 


I have just been talking with Dr. D., a charming young 
doctor whom I like very much. He tells me that I can go 
home Christmas, if my family will invite me, and he en- 
courages me to believe that by New Year's, or shortly 
thereafter, I can be released entirely. I was, however, dis- 
appointed to have him leave me with the suggestion that 
my great mistake has been in not giving freer rein to the 
sex impulse. 

In reading over this document, one or two things make 
me pause. Have I, perhaps, failed to recognize sufficiently 
the need of force in such cases as mine? That need I take 
for granted. I do not suppose that I would ever have gone 
to the hospital willingly. My grievance is rather the lack 
of any attempt to use persuasion or to explain what is being 
done and why. 

The other point is my apparent failure to recognize the 


seriousness of this disturbance. My answer is that there is 
hardly any need of stressing the gravity of my situation. 
The hopeful factors are less apparent, and it is upon these 
that any constructive future must be built. I do feel that 
I have made a long journey through some difficult and 
little-known country and that I have come through intact. 

The following, letter was written shortly after receiving 
a copy oK^eu^^ntU^^ff^J^ctures from Fred. This was my 
first introduction to Freud, and I became very excited over find- 
ing in this book much that supported my independently-arrived- 
at ideas. 

December n y 1920 

Let me thank you heartily for your fine letter and for 
the book on psychoanalysis. I have been reading it with 
intense interest and, in fact, excitement. Freud's conclu- 
sions are so strikingly in line with those which I had 
already formed that it makes me believe in myself a little bit 
once more. I refer in particular to two propositions: 

He asserts in the first place that neuroses i.e., abnormal, 
or insane conditions have a purpose. They are due to 
deep-seated conflict between great subconscious forces and 
the cure is to be found not in the suppression of the symp- 
toms hut in the solution of the conflict. That is just what 
I tried to say in my last letter. 

The other proposition is that concerning treatment. He 
recognizes three stages in the process of cure: 

1 . There must be absolute frankness and truthfulness on 
the part of the patient, understanding of the trouble on 
the part of the physician, and the attempt to bring into 
clear consciousness the dimly understood ideas which 
should prevail. 

2. He holds that in practically every case of successful 
treatment in which the sex instinct is involved, the patient's 


affections are transferred to the physician. This, he says, 
is a fact that must be frankly recognized and wisely utilized 
as fundamental to the process of cure. 

3. Re-direction or sublimation or elimination of the 
transference as soon as the right time comes. This marks the 
completion of the process of cure. 

As I understand my own case, that is precisely what has 
been happening. Therein lies the explanation of the recent 
smash-up. May it not be the destruction or sublimation of 
the transference relationship and the completion of a proc- 
ess which has been going on for many years'? 7 That, at 
least, is the interpretation I had arrived at before I ever 
heard of Freud. I am glad to receive support of this sort. 
It makes me feel as in the days of old when I was working 
on some difficult problem in algebra, and then after getting 
my answer, I would turn to the key in the back of the 
book and find that my answer was right. But this is a prob- 
lem on which I have been working for eighteen years. 

My idea of the "family of four" would then be an at- 
tempt to express this principle. The idea I had in mind 
would be this, that there are those for whom the hope of 
salvation is involved with sexual love. This fact must be 
recognized. This does not mean, however, that such a de- 
sire should be gratified. If it is the right kind of love, it 
would not demand that. On the other hand, it must not be 
killed. The surgeon's knife and the methods of fear and 
repression are not the right treatment, but frankness and 
co-operation. It seemed to me then that the finest men 
and the finest women are precisely the ones most likely to 
respond to the appeal of weakness and of need. Such 
a response has had blessing attached to it, but it has also 
meant sacrifice which should not have to be made. Of 
course, in my abnormal condition I went too far and at- 

7 1 remember clearly what I meant here. The "physician" in my case would 
Be Alice. See p. 55. 


tempted to universalize my own experience, but may there 
not be some element of truth in this crazy idea? 

I remember distinctly the beginning of that idea. It 
came first during that abnormal period in Washington, 8 
a flashing, blinding, overwhelming idea that I was not after 
all just what I had thought myself, but that I had lived on 
this earth many hundreds of years under different forms 
but always with the same problem which I had not been 
able to solve. It seemed that I was identified with the 
woman from whom the seven devils had been cast out; 
also with the poet Dante. Confirmation of this I found in 
the fact that my first illumination had come on Easter 
morning, that the problem was indeed the same, and that 
the idea was one I had never dreamed of before. It seemed 
also that in that struggle lay the center of the fight which 
had been going on for nineteen hundred years. The Christ 
personality had been imprisoned and crippled by the selfish 
demands of a love which had been essential to some weaker 
person's salvation. He had been imprisoned because he 
could not destroy the weaker personality in his own inter- 
est; also because this problem, that of sex, represented the 
first and most difficult problem in the making of a better 
race. It seemed that as a representative of that weaker type, 
it was my duty to give up what I felt to be my claim. 
After I had acted on that it seemed that the fight had been 
won, and I became ecstatically happy. Then I was seized 
with a terrible panic from which I emerged only gradually. 

One of the things which has most puzzled and horrified 
me in this recent delirium is the ideas which I have had 
regarding my own identity. Starting with the idea that I 
was the representative of the Magdalene-Dante type, I 
surrendered my claim and became a zero quantity. Then 

8 Cf. p. 59. Tliis somewhat fuller account was written while at West* 
boro without any documentary aids. It may include ideas which were dis* 
tinctive of the episode of 1920. 


I became confused. I was a zero quantity, but I was also 
its opposite. Another idea which persisted throughout the 
disturbed period was that I was a representative of the sex 
instinct. It was in this role, I think, that I attempted re- 
peatedly to eliminate myself. Once I tried to drown myself 
in the tub and nearly succeeded. Twice I rammed my head 
against the corner of the brick wall. 

As I look back over this, viewing it more in perspective, 
I still wonder if there may not be some glimmering of truth 
in these strange ideas. We know so little about the unseen 
forces. Is it not possible that our minds are the scene of a 
struggle in which universal issues are at stake*? 

One such idea was that of life as consisting of two cycles, 
one in the flesh and one in the spirit. It seemed that the 
departed spirit had its abode in the subconscious of those 
whom it loved and that its chances of returning to the 
world and perpetuating the cycle depended upon the 
fidelity of the man or woman in whom that spirit abode. 
According to this idea, it should be possible, if we learned 
the laws, to select the types which are brought into the 
world and thus secure an unbroken succession of alter- 
nating personalities. That would be eternal life. I am giv- 
ing this just the way the idea came. 

The universe I thought of as a great living organism, or 
series of organisms. It seemed that out of the present world 
a new social order was to be formed. This would be a new 
spiritual body gathering to itself the spirits of those who 
were fit. In such a body the "family of four" would con- 
stitute a new type of cell replacing the simpler cell on 
which the present order is founded. It seemed that the 
present order is based upon competition, and competition 
eliminates the best as well as the worst. The new order 
would be based upon co-operation and would seek to pre- 
serve whatever was worth preserving, guarding carefully 
the finest and the best. According to this idea, the virgin 
birth of Christ would represent an actual new element en- 


tering into the race and it was made possible by some man 
giving his place to another. But the Second Coming had 
not taken place because of the frailty of some of the dis- 
ciples. It seems that the personality which I represented 
had been chiefly responsible for blocking the way. Salva- 
tion was thus by no means assured. It depended upon the 
outcome of a titanic struggle which was still undecided. 

During the disturbed period I had over and over again 
ideas of going through all stages of evolution from the 
single cell on. It was all very terrible. 

My sister says I talked of dying in order that I might 
be born into the world again. I cannot remember any such 
idea as that. 

I am setting this down just as accurately as I can as part 
of the analysis I am trying to work out. I hope you will 
keep this together with my other letter. I have no place 
to file things here and I may want to refer to them again. 
I feel like a traveler back from a distant country and I 
want to record my observations while they are still fresh. 
This does not mean that I hold to these ideas as true. 
While I do believe there may be some truth in some of 
the ideas, I am concerned chiefly with the mental processes 
which are involved. 

I am much interested in your suggestion regarding trans- 
fer to the Bloomingdale Hospital [in White Plains, New 
York]. If they use the Freudian method there I should like 
to go there in order to watch the results. I am well enough 
contented here. I am treated well. But I want a chance to 
study other methods of treatment than those prevailing 

As I wrote you last time, my doctors says I can go home 
Christmas if the family invites me and that I can be re- 
leased shortly after New Year s. 

From the middle of December until early in March of 1921, 
the correspondence was concerned chiefly with the obstacles 


to an early release and with negotiations for transfer to the 
Bloomingdale Hospital. My letters during this period indicate 
a fair degree of stability. There was however a brief period in 
mid-December when some of the old fears were threatening to 
return. This is reflected in the following letter dated December 
16, 1920. 


My sister tells me that you have been much upset by 
the thought that all these queer ideas of mine were evolved 
under your own roof. Let me assure you that such was not 
the case, at least so far as the abnormal state was con- 
cerned. I had never thought of such things before nor had 
I read of them. They were just ideas which came to me 
suddenly and insistently as from an unknown source and 
I simply wrote them down. 

I do hope you may be able to make some arrangements 
by which I can get out soon. I should prefer not to be 
transferred to another hospital but to come out under your 
care. Frankly the thought of having to bare my very soul 
again is by no means pleasant to me. One of the hold-over 
ideas I can't get away from is fear of the doctors and fear 
of imprisonment. 

This morning a bunch of us were sent out to get laurel 
for Christmas decorations and I was ordered to show the 
way to an especially good place which I had visited in 
company with our kind-hearted, nature-loving head-waiter. 
It filled me with fear and forebodings. I can't bear the 
thought of taking a crowd like that out to strip the bushes 
of leaves and flowers, so that all their beauty will be de- 
stroyed for the coming year, if not for several years to 
come. I fear something of this sort for myself. I don't like 
to be dissected as a pathological subject. I don't want to say 
more than is necessary and then only to those I trust abso- 


About the middle of December, while talking with one of 
my physicians, I remarked that while I recognized the grotesque 
character of the ideas I had had during the disturbed period, I 
still felt that in the experience there had been some purpose. It 
was not all a mistake. He shook his head solemnly and said I 
was entirely wrong. This remark of mine apparently cost me the 
visit to New York upon which I had been counting. In any case 
it explains the following letter to Fred Eastman under the date 
of December 30, 1920. 


Replying to your letter of recent date, I beg to inform 
you that I do not consider Mr. Boisen well enough to visit 
you at your home during the coming week-end. He still has 
many false ideas and although his conduct is not greatly 
disturbed, it is easy to see that his mind is far from right. 
He still believes that the experience through which he has 
been passing is part of a plan which has been laid out for 
him and that he has not suffered from any mental illness. 
This mistaken idea is sufficient to tell us that he is still in 
need of hospital treatment. 

Very truly yours, 

The reference to my believing that I had not suffered from 
any mental illness refers, of course, to my attempt to distinguish 
between cerebral disease and mental disorder, and my assertion 
that I had no cerebral disease. 

In fairness to the doctor it should be said that in talking with 
him, talking as I did under unfavorable conditions and vexed 
by his attitude, I probably got somewhat excited. It was this 
which probably explained his answer. 

The chief developments during the month of January were 


the completion, through Fred Eastman's unremitting efforts, of 
the negotiations for my transfer to the Bloomingdale Hospital in 
New York and my own growing conviction that my vocational 
future was to be found in the mental hospital. But the way was 
by no means easy, and when it came time to have the necessary 
papers signed, serious obstacles were encountered. It was a trying 
time for all of us, especially for my mother. My own state of 
mind is reflected in the following letter to her. 

i February 1921 

\ have been pondering this morning over the next step 
which lies before me. I have already written you of what I 
have in mind, but I feel that there is a little more that 
needs to be said. 

It is for one thing clear to me that I cannot go back into 
the pastorate. The prolonged stay here has already made 
that inadvisable. In this Fred Eastman agrees with me. In 
fact both of us arrived at this conclusion independently. It 
is inadvisable because it would be necessary to account for 
these four months, and questions would be raised in the 
minds of many people, even though I were far more com- 
petent than I have ever been before. It is also inadvisable 
to think further of the pastorate because, if this experience 
which I have passed through has any meaning, that mean- 
ing would point clearly in another direction. 

Two courses then remain. I can go into survey work, or 
other work which I have done before. Such a step I should 
regard as a backward one and I should always feel myself a 
failure. The other course is to take as my problem the one 
with which I am now concerned. That seems to me the 
clear course. It would give meaning and unity to the ex- 
periences of the past and provide something for me to live 
for and work for. This is truly an interesting and important 
problem, one which is just beginning to be understood and 


one In which religion and medicine meet. In many of its 
forms, insanity, as I see it, is a religious rather than a medi- 
cal problem, and any treatment which fails to recognize 
that fact can hardly be effective. But as yet the church has 
given little attention to this problem. 

My chief reason for wanting to go to Bloomingdale was 
to make contact with what I am told is the foremost insti- 
tution in the country now concerned with the problem of 
mental illness. I want their help in understanding my own 
problem. I also want to study their methods. I thought that 
by going there as a patient, I would be far more likely to 
get their help in finding openings in this field. It is still 
my feeling that this would have been the best way. 

Please do not think I am unhappy or unwell. I may be 
stubborn, but I do feel that there is nothing to grieve over 
in this apparent catastrophe. 

Dr. D. suggested the other day that I ought to try to for- 
get these abnormal experiences. My reply is that I cannot 
forget and that I can see no reason to disbelieve. It has 
all been consistent. It is only that things are working out 
more literally than I had anticipated. It makes life a very 
stern and exacting affair. What would there be to live for 
if the foundations of my faith were swept away? Facts are 
of course to be accepted in so far as they can be determined, 
but on beyond the facts is the realm of faith and we must 
believe and act upon our beliefs if ever they are to be real- 
ized, I see no reason to believe that my faith has not been 
supported by the facts, not, at least, after allowance has 
been made for ever-present errors. 

Yes, my darling Mother, I do believe in prayer. I believe 
that its chief function is not to help us attain what we 
want, but to find out what is wanted of us and to enable 
us to draw upon the sources of strength which will make 
it possible for us to accomplish our task, whatever it may 

My prayer now is that in this critical period we may 


receive guidance and strength to do whatever Is right and 
best in the long run; and if I have made any mistakes in 
the past, I pray for forgiveness and for the chance to set 
myself right again. 

All during this period I had not written to Alice; neither had 
I heard from her beyond a kindly reply to a letter that I had 
written to her just before the commitment, which must have 
told her at once what had happened. In that letter I outlined 
my idea of the family-of-four, which, when I came to myself, 
seemed horrifying. My silence was due partly to the life-and- 
death struggle in which I was engaged, partly also to the feeling 
that letters written at this time would seem like appeals for 
sympathy. There was no lack of thought of her. It just seemed 
better to wait until the situation cleared. 

The following letter of February 14, 1921, to my old com- 
rade-in-arms, Norman Nash, then teaching at the Episcopal 
School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers additional evidence 
of the growing interest in the mental hospital as my future 
field of work. It reveals also an excessively critical attitude. 


Your inquiry as to my present whereabouts is not easy to 
answer. You will readily understand this when I tell you 
that I am at present an inmate of a hospital for the insane, 
where I was committed last October. As measured by the 
ability to work, to think straight and to maintain a fair 
degree of cheerfulness and confidence, I am now, so far 
as I can judge, as well as I ever was. But here I am, and 
no relief is in sight. 

The cause of it all was an abnormal condition, similar to 
others I have had on four previous occasions. Each one 
of these has marked a turning-point in my life and, along 
with abnormal and pathological elements which I have al- 
ways recognized, it has brought me what I have regarded 


as most sacred and most authoritative. This time I became 
bewildered and terrified until my sister in turn became 
frightened and I found myself committed. For three weeks 
I was in a violent delirium, which nearly proved fatal. 
Then on October 2,9, I seemed to wake up and in two 
more weeks I was as well as ever. But I am now in the 
hands of doctors who do not understand and with whose 
view-point I am quite at variance. 

This catastrophe has of course destroyed my hopes and 
plans. I came back last July with the intention of taking 
a pastorate. From that 1 am now turned aside. My present 
purpose is to take as my problem the one with which I 
am here confronted. I believe that many forms of insanity 
are religious rather than medical problems and that they 
cannot be successfully treated until they are so recognized. 
The problem seems to me one of great importance not only 
because of the large number of sufferers involved, but also 
because of the religious and psychological and philosophi- 
cal implications which inhere in it. I am sure that if I 
can make to it any contribution whatsoever, it will be 
worth the cost. 

The hardest thing is to realize that those of us who are 
here are practically counted as among the dead. We have 
no standing in the eyes of the law. We have no rights. Our 
word counts for nothing, and our wishes, our feelings, our 
judgments are only so many reasons for doing otherwise. 
If I had to describe this place, I would say it is a place of 
weeping and gnashing of teeth, where the light is gone and 
the loved ones cut away, while those in control are indus- 
triously engaged in suppressing the symptoms which might 
lead to recovery, all too often through the agency of devils 
with the pitch-forks of authority in their hands. Over the 
door I would write, "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate." 
[All hope abandon, ye who enter here.] 

Perhaps this is a 'bit strong, and yet I feel that it is not 
far from the truth. This is indeed a place of lost souls and 


the methods of treatment are nil. It is just a great prison 
which they call a "hospital" 

I am not complaining of my present treatment. I am liv- 
ing very comfortably, too comfortably. I am accomplishing 

nothing. I am rusting, and sometimes I get very im- 


After three months of negotiations my mother and sister with- 
drew their objections, and arrangements were completed for my 
transfer to Bloomingdale, where I was to pay the nominal charge 
of ten dollars a week. The date was set for March 25, but on 
March 24 I became acutely disturbed and had to be sent to 
Codman Upper, a disturbed ward. The causes of this relapse 
were somewhat complex. 

I had been eager to go to Bloomingdale; and yet, as the letter of 
December 16 shows, I dreaded the psychoanalytic treatment by 
men I did not know, perhaps even more than the incarceration 
at Westboro. For the psychoanalysts were doctors, and my fear 
of the doctors still carried over from my forcible hospitalization. 

Then, back of it all was the conviction that I was not wholly 
wrong. I had been plunged into a strange new world, and the 
specific ideas from the previous delirium had been stowed away 
in the back of my mind with big question marks after them. 

Just about a week before the transfer to Bloomingdale was to 
be made I was given a copy of The Unseen Guest? This was 
a book on spiritism, one that does not make much impression 
upon me now, but at that time I became intensely interested in 
it, and under its influence the slumbering ideas were reawak- 
ened. They began to seem possible, then probable, then true. 
Meanwhile I had become more and more absorbed. I could 

& Author anonymous (New York: Harper & Brothers, 192,0). 


think of nothing else. All night I lay awake thinking, all the 
time knowing that further detention at Westboro was sure to re- 
sult. The dominant emotions were intense interest and intense 

My condition did not remain unnoticed, but the authorities 
were planning to go through with the transfer anyway. How- 
ever, on the morning of the day I was to have left, I took matters 
into my own hands and visited one of the physicians in his 
apartment in order to discuss with him certain propositions per- 
taining to the family-of-four ? which at that moment had become 
for me a plan of collaboration between medical and religious 

The following five letters to Fred Eastman show the develop- 
ment of my state of mind at the time of onset. 

1 8 March 1921 


I had a talk with Dr. Lang this morning and learned 
with satisfaction that he had acted favorably to your propo- 
sition and that all that now remains to be done is to attend 
to the customary red tape. At first he was inclined to in- 
sist upon your coining to get me. Finally he consented to 
allow Mother to sign the needed papers and to let me go 
down to New York alone. I am hoping to be released next 
week so that I can be with you on Easter Sunday. 

I have just finished The Unseen Guest, and have found 
it of absorbing interest. In fact the impression it made on 
me is tremendous. It seems to supplement and clarify and 
support so startlingly the experience through which I have 
passed and the ideas with which I have^been struggling. 
Once more, just as in that book of Freud's, I have seemed 
to check up and find my answer right. I suppose I am 
pre-disposed to accept this book at face value. Perhaps for 
this very reason I ought to be more cautious. 


2,0 March 1921 

The feeling is growing within me that before commit- 
ting myself to the doctors at Bloomingdale I should like 
to talk things over with you carefully. You see, I have been 
doing quite a bit of thinking since I read the book you 
sent. It opens up a wide view and gives rise to questions 
which require intensive thinking. It draws my attention 
away from the problem of insanity to another problem of 
which I fear the doctors might not approve. 

I am still planning to corne down to New York Friday 
or Saturday night, arriving early in the morning. 

21 March 1921 


I am very sad to-day. 

Last November, after your visit here, you wrote me a 
fine letter in which you gave precisely the right sugges- 
tions. The time of my stay here is drawing to a close and 
the task you set me is unaccomplished. Your friend Anton 
Boisen has failed and his task remains undone. 

My eyes are opened now through the book you sent me. 
I see and am much troubled. The failure is a tragic one. 
Its awfulness I can scarce imagine. 

Have you noticed in reading The Unseen Guest that 
while the facts related there may be true, as I believe they 
are, it is not Christianity which it teaches. It implies a re- 
ligion of ancestor worship. You notice, don't you, that 
Stephen is "of the same degree" and that the doctrine of 
evil and pain is inadequate. Evil and pain in this world 
are for him merely hallucinations. I tremble when I think 
of what this means. 

I am feeling anxious about my release, for I am under 
a heavy strain and I am afraid they may keep me here, 
when what I need is to be with friends who understand. 
If anything should prevent my release this week, I fear for 
the results. The doctors have no understanding of my prob- 


lem. I hope you will do all you can to hurry the thing 

I see it all so clearly now. We are indeed just part of 
larger personalities, but with our eyes closed to that re- 
lationship. Our responsibility here is to do the allotted task. 
And I have failed, 

22 March 192,1 

In my recent letter I flew some signals of distress. I am 
sending you a few lines to-night to ask you to take those 
signals down. The problem has cleared up and all is right 
again. I suppose it is the fact of being still in custody which 
makes me so fearful. 

I still feel that if I could get a place to stay and a little 
something to do outside of Bloomingdale, that might be a 
better plan. 

I have not yet figured it out, but I am feeling rather 
happy now. 

p.s. One hour later. It comes to me again that the situ- 
ation is now very, very critical. Everything is hanging in 
the balance. I need your prayers and your help. You must 
get me out of here this week, no matter what happens. Oh, 
it is indeed terrible. Our Christian civilization is doomed 
and the battle will have to be fought all over again. It 
must now be fought against evil forces which are greatly 

24 March 1921 


I am wondering if it will be possible for you to come to 
Boston Saturday night so as to be here for Easter. I am 
figuring on an experiment and I wish very much to have 
you here. 

I am past my temporary feeling of fear now and I think 
I see the way. I shall not say more now. I will only add 
that I earnestly hope you will come. It may prove to be 
worth your while* 


p.s. Let me add that I have figured out die cause of all 
insanity. The whole creation is organized in degrees. In 
each degree in thoroughbred stock is a family of four, 
corresponding to the type of family I proposed a while 
back. The line thus went in orderly connection, father-son- 
father-son, with the lines alternating. If for any reason this 
principle is changed, we have warfare. Like is unable to 
recognize like and we have ruthless competition. If in the 
Christian system of degrees the system is changed and the 
key family lost, then we have insanity. That link was 
broken at Calvary. Hence the turmoil and confusion of 
the last two thousand years, especially now, when during 
the World War the world has been violently insane. The 
great need now is to establish connection between God and 
the world, the connection which was lost two thousand 
vears ago. I believe I have established that connection and 

_ f T * T 

I am asking you to come in order to see ir 1 am ngnt. 

p.s. The connection was definitely established and pass- 
words given and tokens exchanged. It was broken through 
the rathlessness of the attendants. 

These five letters have been given in full, notwithstanding 
their painful features, because they show so clearly how such 
disorders develop. We see in them the intense concern, the step- 
ping up of the creative to the point of complete irrationality, and 
the abeyance of critical judgment. Ideas were accepted as authori- 
tative because of the way they came, and the conscious self was 
down in the lower regions at the mercy of the strange and ter- 
rifying f antasms which flooded in upon it. 

The attempt to understand and interpret this ideation in its 
particulars is most difficult. One thing only seems clear to me. 
The ideation in this second disturbance is similar to that of the 
first, and its meaning is to be found in the same struggle that was 
back of the first. 


The disturbance that followed was quite as severe as that of 
the previous fall, and it lasted ten weeks instead of three. The 
following letter, also to Fred Eastman, was written during the 
third week of the disturbed period. 

8 April 1921 

Just a few lines, while there is yet time, to tell you that 
I am still in the land of the living. I have, however, been 
deep down in the valley of shadow and I do not know 
whether I shall ever emerge. 

Yes, I wrote despondently the week before Easter and I 
still adhere to what I said in those letters. The reality is 
far more terrible than I had ever believed and I fear the 
world is in for very troublous times. Christian civilization 
seems doomed. 

I will ask you to ponder over that suggestion about the 
family of four as a means of keeping intact the family line. 
I think my suggestion that life is in two cycles is true and 
the family-of-four idea with unselfish love as the basic prin- 
ciple will be the means of preventing syphilitic infection 
and of breeding up the race until Christianity can come 
into its own. 

I hope you will think of me kindly. My opinion of my- 
self is not very high. 

It may be noted that I was still dominated "by the idea of im- 
pending world disaster and by the idea of the family-of-four. One 
reason for the persistence and strength of the latter may be found 
in the fact that the tubroom contained just four tubs. These stood 
in my mind for that idea. It seemed that it was a new type of cell, 
and it was associated with the idea of rebirth. It seemed that the 
psychopathic ward was the meeting place between this world and 
the world beyond, and the tubroom was the place for the regen- 
eration of womout personalities. I regarded it as my duty to stay 


on guard in the tubroom and I actually spent a large proportion of 
the ten weeks in that room. Somehow or other through those tubs 
the destiny of the world was going to be determined, It was my 
job to defeat the plans of those whom I regarded as enemies, some 
of whom, it seemed, were representatives of the devil himself. 
This required constant watchfulness, and throughout those ten 
weeks I scarcely dared to sleep. 

All the time the idea persisted that if I could destroy myself, I 
could save the situation. On several occasions during the previous 
fall I had made such attempts. Now again I made repeated at- 
tempts, I had the idea that the way out was down and not up, 
and that I must descend to the lowest possible level. On several 
occasions I lay for hours during the night on the cold cement 
floor with no clothing on so that no one might be able to get be- 
low me and that the enemy might thereby be discomfited. 

Symbolism was of course a prominent feature of such an ex- 
perience. Things were not what they seemed to be. Everything 
had some deeper meaning. The patients around me were em- 
bodiments of good and bad spirits. So also were the attendants 
and the doctors. The different kinds of food all stood for some- 
thing. I would eat no meat, no fruit, no pie, no sweet stuff of any 
sort, but lived on bread and water and beans, and very little of 
these. To have eaten of the other things would have brought mis- 
fortune upon my friends. But it was always a difficult matter to 
know what to eat and what not to eat. The different tubs also 
meant different things, though just what they meant I was not 
sure, and I was always wanting to be changed from one tub to 

Gradually, however, some sort of solution seemed to be taking 
shape. The terror was disappearing and I was beginning to stay 
put instead of plunging around and throwing things into con- 
fusion. I was also getting fearfully tired and I was beginning to 


question some of my premises. But I kept going back to the tubs 
until I felt that nothing further could be accomplished. I finally 
consented to stay out if assured that I might be able to "help." 
I was then transferred downstairs. 

Immediately then the old fears and the old ideas vanished, 
fears and ideas which, so long as I remained on the disturbed 
ward, were picked up from other patients or absorbed from old 


I was transferred downstairs on June 4, 1921. The first week 
was spent doing little else but eating and sleeping and recuper- 
ating from the long ordeal upstairs. Then I began to look around 
for something to do. My first request for work met with the reply 
that I was not yet strong enough. This was the situation at the 
time of the following memorandum, which was written on June 
1 5 and given to the physician the next day. 

FROM: A. T. Boisen 

To: Dr. Chambers 

SUBJECT: Amusement on Codman Lower 

It is now eleven days since I came to Codman Lower. 
During the first week I was chiefly engaged in recuperating 
from the ten weeks of tub treatment up-stairs and I did 
little but eat and sleep. This week, however, I am begin- 
ning to accumulate some surplus energy and I am looking 
around for some way of spending it to good advantage. To 
my surprise I find that this is no simple or easy problem. 

The striking feature of this ward as compared with the 
other wards with which I am familiar is the lightness of the 
-ward work and the lack of occupation for most of the men 
during the major part of the day. This results from the fact 
that there are no bed patients here, while more than half 
of the men are regarded as not yet fit for regular work. 
At this present moment (2, P.M.) twelve patients are at 


work outside the ward while thirteen are now here on the 
ward and have been here all day. These thirteen got up this 
morning between half past five and six o'clock, washed, 
dressed, took breakfast, and helped with the ward work. This 
was completed before nine o'clock. At ten we took half an 
hour s walk. The rest of the day we've been chiefly occu- 
pied in doing nothing. As I look around me here on the 
porch, I see one asleep, two are talking together, four are 
reading news-papers, five are looking into the dim distance 
and, judging by their expressions, they are thinking very 
gloomy thoughts. In fact, the remarkable thing is that more 
are not engaged in ruminating, for there is little else to do. 
There has been no work since nine o'clock, except in the 
kitchen and serving room, and there are no facilities for 
recreation. At present Codman Lower possesses the follow- 
ing recreational equipment: 

i victrola a treasure which is a great source of comfort 

to us all. 
i set of checkers safely locked up in the reading room 

and accessible only by grace of the attendant. 
6 books, viz., Newcomb: Popular Astronomy, 1879 
Bruce: Scientific Mental Healing 
Roosevelt: Hunting Trip in South Africa 
Ralph Connor: Patrol of the Sundance 

On Holy Ground 
Holy Bible 

Sundry copies of the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies 
Home Journal, Country Gentleman, Harper 's, Mun- 
seys y National Geographic, all much appreciated, but 
mostly consumed. 

These books and magazines are now safely locked up in the 
reading room. In addition there are two books drawn by 
two men from the Patients' Library at Center. 

My judgment is that some additional facilities for occupy- 
ing the time and attention of the men on this ward would 


be beneficial. Speaking at least for myself, who generally 
have little difficulty in finding plenty to do, I would em- 
phasize the fact that time does hang heavy on my hands 
and that the general atmosphere is one of gloom. I ven- 
ture therefore the following suggestions: 

i. The supplying of additional equipment for indoor 

2, collapsible tables for cards, checkers, writing etc. 
(No tables at all are now available.) 

Sets of checkers, cards, dominoes, chess etc. 

Traveling library 

Bulletin board 

Book case 

i set of ring-toss 
2,. Equipment for out-door recreation 

Playground balls and bats 

Horse shoe outfit 

Volley ball and net 

3. I would suggest further that more stress be laid on the 
daily walks. In addition to short walks on which all might 
go, there should be a longer walk in the afternoon for all 
the physically fit, and this walk should be made more in- 
teresting by varying the route. In this connection I would 
call attention to the fact that the walks are often omitted 
even when the weather is favorable. 

4. It would seem to me advisable to have the reading 
room open more of the time. This is the more important be- 
cause the dormitories are generally closed. I would suggest 
further that the older and feebler men, at least, should 
be allowed to lie down at times, especially after dinner. An 
opportunity to bathe before going to bed would also be ap- 

5. Short talks on mental or personal hygiene by one of 
the physicians before the assembled patients might be help- 

6. The fact that few of our men know about the Patients' 


Library and that there is often difficulty in getting there 
during library hours should be noted. 

16 June 1921 

FROM: A. T. Boisen 

To: Dr. Chambers 


In this morning s conversation the question of work was 
discussed and three possibilities were mentioned: 

1. Checking in the laundry room 

2. Work in the marking room 

3. Photographic work (which might be occasional and 

After thinking the matter over, I question seriously 
whether either of the first two would provide what I need 
just now. I am afraid they would offer little variety and 
would therefore prove irksome and confining. Of course I 
wish to be of service, but other things being equal I would 
prefer work in which I was interested and for which I had 
some aptitude. 

It has occurred to me that it might be possible to com- 
bine the more or less irregular photographic work with an 
assignment to the wood-working department. This would 
mean work for which I have always had a particular fond- 
ness and of which I have done a good deal I might, for 
instance, be given the job of making bean bag outfits or 
ring-toss sets for different wards, if this idea were approved, 
and I should greatly delight in making such things as bul- 
letin boards and book cases. 

16 June 1921 

FROM: A. T. Boisen 

To: Dr. Dayton 

CONCERNING: A Possible Fourth of July Program 

In my work in a country parish it has fallen to me several 
times to provide for a Fourth of July program. I do not 
know the customs of this institution, but it has occurred 


to me that a play festival such as we have found suitable 
for our small communities might be in place here. I there- 
fore suggest the following program for your consideration: 


9 : 30 to 10:30 Playground Ball Talbot & Cod- 

man vs. the Rest 

10:30 to 1 1 130 Clown-Rubes Baseball Patients vs. Em- 

i : 30 to 2 : 30 Field Events 

Dashes 50 yards Men: Fat Men 

Lean Men 


Women: Fat Women 
Lean Women 
Relay Races 

50 yard shuttle relay 
25 yard Sack race 
25 yard three-legged race 
50 yd. Wheel-barrow race 
2:30 to 3:30 

Special Features 

Nail-driving contest for Women 
Horse-shoe pitching 

Musical Program 


These suggestions were approved. I was given the job of hos- 
pital photographer and I was authorized to go ahead with the 
Fourth of July program which I had proposed. This program 
went off with some measure of success and was followed by a 
more successful program on Labor Day, and then, during Christ- 
mas week, with a program of games for various wards. 

Aside from the time needed to prepare for these programs, I 
filled my time with the photographic work. My task was to take 
pictures of the patients for the hospital records. This took me 
into all the wards, both male and female. I took between six and 
seven hundred pictures. I was also authorized to take pictures of 
the buildings and grounds and activities. This was of course a 
most agreeable task, for the attractive grounds and the varied 
architecture of the buildings called for whatever skill and artistic 
sense a photographer might have. In the course of this assign- 
ment I undertook to make a complete survey of the hospital in 
pictures. I also completed a rough topographic map of the 
grounds. All these things kept me delightfully occupied, and 
provided me with an unusual opportunity to study the hospital. 

During this period I purposely avoided discussing my case 
with the doctors, even though my work brought me into close 
contact with them. More than that, I made no inquiries about 
getting out, beyond laboring with my friends outside. 

The following two letters were written to Fred in the course 
of these negotiations. 

31 July 1921 

I am. sorry that I gave you the impression that my recent 
illness was in any way to be laid to your account because 
you had sent me a copy of The Unseen Guest. I remember 


very distinctly that I asked you to send it. The responsi- 
bility was therefore mine. The last thing I would want 
would be a censorship of my reading. Perhaps it is unfor- 
tunate that I read it just at that time, but I am glad to have 
seen it. 

Your account of the labor situation is most discouraging. 
Sometimes I think that if there is no work in sight it might 
be a good plan to go back to the Seminary where I could 
tackle this new problem with the help of such a man as 
Professor Coe. It seems to me a problem in religion and 
psychology and philosophy rather than in medicine. Such 
a plan would have the advantage of giving me a new start. 
I would not get that if I began as a sealer of logs or photog- 
rapher or pastor of some litde church, 

I am bearing in mind constantly that in rejecting Dr. 
Holt's splendid offer [see p. 75] in the survey field, my 
feeling was that my chief contribution should lie in the ex- 
perience through which I had passed. The recent catas- 
trophe has not altered that view. It has only changed my 
interpretation of my experience and has connected it up 
with a very different field from that with which I would 
otherwise have connected it. But the values in that experi- 
ence still remain. I cannot for the life of me see that I am 
any the worse for the recent disturbance. In fact, I really 
believe there has been some progress. I hold with Prof. Coe 
that the important consideration in any religious or mystical 
experience is the result attained and not how it was at- 

I am glad to report that the celebration on the Fourth, 
in spite of many short-comings from my point of view, was 
regarded as quite a success. Apparently it was the first 
thing of the sort attempted here. The photography is also 
going well. This is the first time I have had a good dark room 
with running water and plenty of chemicals. I have the 
task of taking the pictures of all the new patients and I 


am also taking pictures of the buildings and grounds and 
of the hospital activities. They granted me a few days ago 
the privilege of selling some of these views. 

Dr. Chambers inquired this morning if I had heard 
anything from you recently. He then volunteered the sug- 
gestion that if I wanted to go to the Blomingdale Hos- 
pital, I could be transferred any time. That would, he 
said, apply to any form of release under sponsorship. My 
feeling is that if I have to stay in any institution of this 
sort, I had rather stay here where so much interesting work 
is opening up. 

They are allowing me many privileges now. I went alone 
to Worcester the other day and my job as hospital photog- 
rapher takes me freely into all the wards. 

25 August 1921 


Your letter of August 20 is received. I have read it 
through carefully and I appreciate very much your frank 
presentation of the situation as it looks to you. Your letter 
reminds me of a remark you once made when President 
Wilson had just fired a man from the Cabinet. You said 
that letter was so beautifully written that you would be 
willing to be fired yourself just to receive such a letter. 

From your standpoint, then, the situation in which I 
now find myself is anything but roseate. When analyzed, 
that situation is this: Periods of abnormality are likely to 
recur. They might recur while I was in the midst of an im- 
portant piece of work or while you as custodian were away 
from home. You question, therefore, whether you could 
honestly assume the responsibility involved in such an 
office. You suggest, therefore, that I should accustom my- 
self to the idea of remaining as an inmate here at Westboro. 
You feel that I could probably be more useful here, and 
therefore happier than I could be outside. But you say 
it all so beautifully and in such a genuinely friendly spirit 
that it is impossible for me to be hurt or offended. And, be- 


sides, I am always glad to have the truth, for that consti- 
tutes the only possible solution of any difficult problem. 
I shall therefore try to answer the questions you raise, even 
though in so doing I may go over ground already covered. 
It would be foolish to deny the possibility of the recur- 
rence of abnormality. Every such recurrence leaves its im- 
press in the nervous system and makes it easier for another 
one to recur. This must be frankly recognized, even though 
I would dispute the physiological explanations held by 
most psychiatrists. At the same time it is easy to exaggerate 
the danger. In the seminar on mysticism which we had 
with Professor Coe at Union he was constantly referring 
to Delacroix's Etudes dHistoire et de Psychologic du Mys- 
ticisms. 10 It was, he said, by all odds the ablest study of the 
psychology and history of mysticism which had yet been 
made. This book I worked through very carefully, as you 
may possibly remember. It was a careful analysis of the 
experiences of Sainte Teresa, Madame Guyon and Heinrich 
Suso, whom he had selected because of their recognized 
standing and because of the sources of information avail- 
able in their cases. As I remember it, he showed that in 
each of these three there were alternating periods of ex- 
altation and depression, the periods of exaltation being 
marked by voices and visions and inspirations and autom- 
atisms of all kinds. Nonetheless they had an organizing 
function. Their origin was to be found in inner conflict 
and struggle. Their end was the unification of the per- 
sonality. And as this end was attained the abnormal ele- 
ments tended to disappear. But along with the constructive 
experiences were elements which could not be assimilated. 
These elements were rejected as suspicious, and taken 
together they formed what he called the demonic current. 
Delacroix seems thus in line with Freud in his func- 
tional explanation of insanity. He too finds die origin of 
abnormal mental conditions in a conflict between certain 

10 Paris: Felix Alcan, 1908. 


subconscious forces, and he finds the remedy in the re- 
moval of the conflict. Where the conflict has to do with the 
sex drive, Freud would probably find the solution in a let- 
ting down of the bars and the removal of the inhibitions, at 
least to a certain extent. 

I have tried to sum up these views of Delacroix because 
they fortify me in my own conviction that in my case 
the abnormal mental conditions are not to be regarded as 
chronic. If thirteen years ago I had been sent to a mental 
hospital, the doctors would have had reason to give me a 
gloomy prognosis. I was at that time in bad condition, 
morbid, bewildered, overwhelmed by a deep sense of fail- 
ure. But now for eleven years there has been no recurrence, 
and this experience seems to me a problem-solving one. 
There has been throughout these years gradual progress 
in the direction of the unification of the personality not in 
that of disintegration and degeneration. I do not believe 
there needs to be any recurrence. 

How do I account for the recurrence of last Spring? 
. . . One factor was certainly the fear of this place and of 
others like it. While the dominating ideas were still much 
the same, the ideas most prominent in this last disturbance 
had to do with the imprisonment and the way of escape 
from it. There was the terrifying thought growing out of 
that experience that God himself was helpless in the 
hands of the doctors and that I must somehow or other 
help to set him free. It may also be noted that last fall 
when I came back to normal, it was largely the result of a 
severe beating which left me weak and helpless and un- 
able to continue the struggle. In this disturbance on the 
other hand I fought my way through to some sort of solu- 
tion. It was no accident that ten days after leaving the dis- 
turbed ward, I found the work in which I am now engaged. 
It was in line with the solution I had arrived at in Cod- 
man Upper. 

I feel therefore that I am not ready to be junked yet. 


But granting the danger of a recurrence, what should be 
done about it? 

The answer will depend in the first place upon the 
character of the disturbance and the possible harm 1 might 
do to others. If I am a menace to society, I must of course 
be kept where I can do no harm. Thus far I find no evi- 
dence that there was even in the wildest delirium the slight- 
est danger to any one else. I can remember most everything, 
and if given a chance I could give a very different interpre- 
tation to the words which were taken as indications of 
danger. In my own consciousness it was the best part of 
myself which was dominant throughout those disturbed 
periods and from the moral standpoint I was never more 
nearly right than at the very moment I was taken to the 
hospital. It was in some ways the highest point I had 
reached. That has been and is still my feeling. In saying 
this I am not forgetful of the shocking character of my 
ideas. I am thinking rather of my dominant concern with 
the grim problem of existence and survival , not of myself 
but rather of others. There was throughout no sexual ex- 
citation. And the ideas were fluid. There was in other 
words no Mr. Hyde personality, but rather a better self, 
blind and chained and struggling for release. 

I recognize what you have in mind in speaking of the 
danger of a recurrence coming in the midst of an im- 
portant piece of work. Last August you gave me a small 
job working up some statistics for your two books. Before 
that task was completed I went haywire, and the study 
was not completed in time to be of use to you. In general, 
however, the periods of abnormality have come in connec- 
tion with some important transition or turning-point. They 
have not come while I was at work but in the "in-between 
times/' And more than once I pulled myself together when 
in such a condition and have assumed responsible work and 
carried it through with some degree of success. 

I appreciate your offer to help in any way you can. I do 


not, however, think it will be necessary for you to act 
as custodian. I am hoping now that I may be able to take 
some work in the Harvard Divinity School and in the 
affiliated institutions which will help me to clear up the 
problems which this experience has brought to the fore and 
to prepare myself for a new task. 

Perce 11 was here the other day and brought with him 
some good advice which he had hatched out coining down 
on the train. He urged me to take up concrete work of 
some sort. Such a course, he thought, would be the best 
means of helping me to regain and preserve niy sanity. I re- 
plied to Perce that sanity in itself is not an end in life. The 
end of life is to solve important problems and to contribute 
in some way to human welfare, and if there is even a 
chance that such an end could best be accomplished by 
going through Hell for a while, no man worthy of the 
name would hesitate for an instant. 

I often think of a little incident which occurred when 
I was in Washington. One of the old Forest School men 
had just returned from two years in the North Woods 
and a lot of his old class-mates were gathered around him 
while he dished out yams about his experiences in the 
wilds. Finally one of the men asked, "Say, Bill, have you 
ever been lost?" Bill straightened up, glared at him, and 
replied with some heat; "Lost! Of course I've been. It's 
only the dubs who never go five miles from camp who 
don't get lost sometimes/' 

I agree with Bill. The kind of sanity which has to be 
preserved by sticking close to camp and washing dishes 
for the rest of my life is not worth preserving. I could 
never be happy or contented in such a course, especially 
when I feel that the particular territory in which I lost 
my way is of greatest interest and importance. I want to 
explore and map that territory. 

J1 Percy Ladd, my roommate at Union, and a friend to whom I am deeply 


There is one principle which seems to me very im- 
portant. You are in doubt about a certain course. The 
facts are not known and cannot be known. In such a case 
the decision should be in favor of the course which promises 
the greatest returns, even though you cannot be sure you 
will succeed, I refer, of course, to the principle stated by 
Professor James in his Will to Believe. Of course I can- 
not be absolutely sure that there will not be a recurrence 
of trouble, but the possibility of such a recurrence should 
not in my judgment deter me from the course which 
promises the greatest opportunity for service. 

In the course of my negotiations for release I wrote to my 
old teacher, George A. Coe, under whom I had done my major 
work at Union Seminary. I had hoped that as a specialist in the 
psychology of religion he might be able to help. The following 
letter, written in longhand, is one of many I have received from 
him. He followed closely all subsequent developments. Every 
reprint of an article of mine which I sent him was acknowledged 
with painstaking and illuminating criticisms. Although at this 
time he had no suggestions to ofEer, I still count him among 
the great teachers to whom I am most indebted. This letter re- 
flects the attitude of many leading psychologists and theologians 
of that time, toward the problem of mental illness. 


September i, 1921 

I have read your letter with keenest interest. It sounds 
just like you and I have difficulty in thinking of you as ever 
losing your poise. 

If only I knew about mental disorders to diagnose them, 
I would gladly put my knowledge at your disposal. But I 
touch the subject at the outer fringes only, and then, very, 
very little. In fact, since you were at the Seminary I have 


been giving only diminishing attention to it, my energies 
being fully absorbed in the topics of religious education 
and the psychology of religion. 

In general, too, my views of mental disorders, as far as 
I have views, tend in the physiological direction. I can see 
how mental habits can be formed, and I realize that habit 
is a large part of neurasthenia. But the question remains, 
Why just these habits in the neurasthenic and opposite 
habits in the normal person, the environment being prac- 
tically the same. 

If the attacks from which you have suffered are, as ap- 
pears, rather severe, then your physicians are probably 
right in assuming a physiological root, even though the 
process whereby a given content arrives is that of sugges- 
tion. The fact that the specific physiological root has not 
been discovered hardly decreases the probability that there 
is one. I speak thus freely because you are so cool and 
objective yourself. I am glad that you have the disposition 
to face all the facts and that nothing needs to be con- 

I sincerely hope that you will soon be a free man again. 
Meantime, how much you have to be thankful for, es- 
pecially (in addition to skilled medical help) the inter- 
esting and important work of institutional photographer. I 
wonder whether you will go on to microphotography of dis- 
eased tissues. 

This letter will bring you little of the help I would 
like to extend to you, but it is weighted with agreeable 
memories and hopes for the happiest outcome of your 
trouble. Please let me know after a while how it fares 
with you. 

Cordially yours, 


Since the exchange of letters with Norman Nash in February 
I had continued to keep in touch with him. He visited me two 


or three times in addition to writing, and during those visits 
we discussed the possibility of consulting Dr. Elwood Worcester 
of Emmanuel Church in Boston. We also considered the feasi- 
bility of my enrolling at Harvard for a study of the problem 
with which I was confronted. The following letters will indi- 
cate the progress of these discussions. 

1 8 September 192,1 

This is of course an anxious period with me. One by one 
the different means of escape on which I had been relying 
have been removed. . . . The plan [for doing graduate 
work at Harvard] in which you have been kind enough to 
interest yourself is now the only one remaining. But of all 
the plans which I have considered that plan seems to me 
to offer the greatest prospect of leading to something worth 
while. If it works out as I hope it may, I can even be 
thankful for the set-back of last spring. 

I hold that there is no line of separation between valid 
religious experience and the abnormal mental states which 
the alienist calls "insanity." The distinguishing feature, as 
I see it, is not the presence or absence of the abnormal 
and erroneous, but the direction of the change which may 
be taking place. For the most part the cases with which 
the psychiatrist is concerned are cases in which the patient 
is losing ground. Valid religious experiences, on the other 
hand, are unifying. The subject is gaining ground, even 
though there may be much disturbance and many morbid 
and erroneous ideas. Saul of Tarsus, George Fox and others 
I might name are classed as religious geniuses, not as insane 
persons, because the experiences through which they 
passed had a constructive outcome. 

It is worth noting that the procedure of the religious 
teacher has often been just the opposite to that of the 
present-day psychiatrist. The church has long taught that 


conviction of sin is the first step on the road to salvation. 
It seeks to make a man face the facts in his own life in 
the light of the teachings of Christ and to square his ac- 
counts, even though it may make him very uncomfortable. 
The psychiatrist, on the other hand, says, "Forget it." And 
very frequently he takes the position which one of our 
young doctors took in the only interview I have teen 
granted since I have been here, 12 that the trouble has been 
in my idealism and that the thing to do is to let nature 
have its way. 

I am unable to agree that further stay here is either 
necessary or wise. I am not unhappy. I am trying to forget 
myself in my work and I am fortunate enough to have 
plenty of interesting work to do. But I am well aware that 
so long as I remain here as a patient, I am by that very 
fact discredited. There is therefore little that I can con- 
tribute to the understanding of this problem. I would also 
be limited in my capacity to help others by the discourage- 
ment which might result from long-continued incarceration. 
It is also to be recognized that the longer I stay here the 
harder it will be to re-establish myself when I do get out. 

You will, of course, not take anything I have said as a 
reflection upon my doctors. They have treated me most 
kindly and I am grateful to them. I am only trying to em- 
phasize the difference in point of view which, as I see it, 
makes correct understanding in such cases as mine very 
difficult for them. 

25 September 1921 

My mother was here Thursday and brought word of 
your call the day before. She has great confidence in you, 
and it was very heartening for me to see how much more 

12 During the preceding remission I prolbahly pestered the doctors with 
requests for interviews and it is certainly true that they weie not very re- 
sponsive. Following my recovery, I purposely avoided discussing my case with 
the doctors, even though the work I was doing provided many opportunities 
to do so, 


hopeful she is since your visit. She has still many linger- 
ing doubts. She wonders whether it would not he best to 
let me stay here until the doctors think me well enough 
to be turned loose without restrictions. She also has the 
idea, to me so abhorrent, that I must now engage in some 
sort of physical work. However, she is willing to be guided 
by whatever Dr. Worcester says and she will back me up 
in taking work at Harvard, in case he is favorable to that, 
even though the financial problem is going to be a difficult 

Negotiations with Dr, Worcester were somewhat delayed he- 
cause of his absence from Boston, but on his return he responded 
at once. There was then some difficulty in the matter of securing 
the needed information. This is indicated in the following letter. 


5 November 192,1 
Dr. Elwood Worcester 
Emmanuel Church 
Boston, Massachusetts 


Replying to your letter on November 2nd with attached 
letter from Mrs. Boisen, I wish to say that if you care to 
visit our patient, Anton T. Boisen at this hospital, I would 
be very glad to have you do so; or if you will designate a 
day and an hour when Mr. Boisen may call upon you in 
Boston, I will arrange to have him do so, provided of 
course that his mental condition remains as good as at die 
present time. 

I might state that his case is one which is characterized 
by periods of acute excitement during which he is quite 

1 1 i n . 

violent and 
In accord 

violent and attempts self-injury. 

In accordance with the law, our records are not open for 

Very truly yours, 
W, E. LANG, 


To supply Dr. Worcester with the information he wanted Fred 
Eastman forwarded to Norman Nash the letters I had written 
him. To these, Nash added my letters to him and turned them 
over to Dr. Worcester. My interviews with Dr. Worcester began, 
if I remember aright, early in November, 1921, and continued 
until May or June of the following year. I found them very 
helpful We maintained communications until his death. 

At the close of our conferences Dr. Worcester turned all these 
letters over to me, saying that I might sometime want to make 
use of them. The two following letters I wrote to Dr. Worcester 
during this period. 


20 November 1921 
Dr. Ekvood Worcester 
Emmanuel Church 
Boston, Moss. 


In the interview of last Monday the following ground 
was covered, If I remember correctly: 

1 . The precise nature of the original trouble. 

2. The character of the first abnormal condition. 

3. Some facts regarding the love affair around which 
the whole thing centers. 

4. Your advice that I take up some outdoor work, 

I hope that the following facts have been established: 

1. The original trouble was primarily a mental one. 
There was no habit of masturbation and no perversions, as 
I understand those terms. There was difficulty in con- 
trolling the wayward sex interests. 

2. The first abnormal condition, while containing many 
morbid elements, was a clear-cut conversion experience, 
with effects which were wholly beneficial. 


3. The love affair was not rooted in friendly association 
but rather in inner struggle and in what might be called 
quite accurately the need of salvation. The motive power 
has been the deep feeling that this was for me the right 
course, the only one I could follow and be true to my best 

4. The danger that I may underestimate the gravity of 
these abnormal conditions and the necessity of avoiding fu- 
ture recurrences. This danger I recognize. The horror of 
the recent catastrophe is with me still. It has been terrible 
beyond the power of words to express. And yet I do not 
regard these experiences as "break-downs." If I am right in 
believing that through them difficult problems have been 
solved for me and solved right, and if through them help 
and strength have come to me, am I not justified in such a 

As I have tried to understand my own case and as I 
have studied the problems of others in this hospital, I have 
come to the conclusion that there are many patients whose 
problems are little different from those of many who go to 
hear Billy Sunday and "hit the saw-dust trail/' They have 
no physical trouble. They are just sick of soul. Now to the 
physicians here anything in the nature of automatisms, 
any 'Voices/' any visions, even a belief in providence or 
divine guidance is per se evidence of insanity and justifies 
commitment. Just last Christmas 1 was denied permission 
to visit a friend on the ground that I still believed that in 
the experience through which I had passed there might be 
the working out of a divine plan. And yet, as I understand 
it, some such faith has always been fundamental in the 
Christian philosophy of life. I think there can be little 
question that such men as Saul of Tarsus and George Fox 
would fare badly before a present-day psychiatric staff. 
Certainly they exhibited phenomena of abnormality. But 
with them the abnormality was a source of power and 
strength. I am therefore hoping for the day when cases 


of mental trouble which are not primarily organic in ori- 
gin will be recognized and treated as spiritual problems and 
that the church will develop physicians of soul of a type 
whose work will be based upon sound and systematic study 
of spiritual pathology. 

It is such a study that I desire to undertake and my 
desire to take work at some theological school is for the 
purpose of preparing for such a task. 

In this purpose I am guided by my belief in the im- 
portance of this task, also by the faith that I can really make 
some contribution to it. It was the faith that my chief con- 
tribution should lie in the experience through which I had 
passed which led me a year ago last spring to refuse a tempt- 
ing position with the Congregational Social Service Com- 
mission. I cannot see that the catastrophe of last fall should 
now destroy that faith. On the contrary, it seems to me 
to have widened the problem and to have thrown new 
light upon my particular experience. 


14 March 1922 

Your discussion in the Living Word 13 of the survival 
of the personality after death brings to my mind an idea 
which was very prominent in my thinking during the dis- 
turbed period. Much of that time I thought I was dead and 
that I was in some new and strange world, I did not know 
who I was. I was first one and then another personality, 
other and bigger than myself. There were thus delusions 
of grandeur so commonly found in mental disorder, and 
the recollection of them is painful. And yet I often wonder 
if there may not be an element of truth in these delusions. 
May it not be that at death the individual consciousness, 
without losing die memories and associations which con- 
is By Elwood Worcester (New York: Moffatt, Yard & Co., 


nect it with tills existence and constitute the personality, 
passes into and merges with some larger personality? It 
would be much the same experience which a man has in 
moments of enthusiasm when he forgets himself in his 
devotion to some cause or some institution. It would be 
like the figure of the vine and the branches, in which the 
branch, supposing it had consciousness, would suddenly get 
its eyes open to the fact that it was not just a branch but 
was one with the vine. The center of consciousness would 
thos be shifted from the part to the whole, 

If there should be in this anything of truth, then the 
greatest happiness which could come to any man would be 
to find himself one with the highest personality, which in 
my thought would be Christ. But many are those who have 
not made this possible. Some of these may have their part 
in him through identification with some lesser personality, 
some lower center of the organism. In other cases the in- 
terests may have been so selfish and perverse that the self- 
consciousness may find itself identified with some hostile 
personality, or it may gravitate toward some lower order. 

At death, then, the group consciousness would supersede 
the individual consciousness, but the individual memories 
and associations would remain and through these there 
would be contact between friends who remain and those 
who have gone before. Such contacts might explain the 
providences, the sense of guidance which down through 
the centuries have figured so prominently in the lives of 
religious men. The Divine Spirit would thus be one and 
yet everywhere at once, taking thought even of the hairs of 
the head or the sparrow that falls. It would be analogous 
to the organization of the human body, in which the con- 
sciousness is of unity and yet not a cell can be destroyed 
or a nerve ganglion injured without having attention called 
to that fact. 

I had also the idea that for each person there are two ulti- 
mate ends eternal life and eternal sleep. Pain and suffer- 


ing would thus be incidental to the process of growth and 
achievement. They would cease with the possibility of life 
and happiness. From this point of view they are ever to be 
welcomed and borne bravely. But for some the Hindu idea 
of escape from the evils of life may offer a blessed release. 

During all this time the idea of some great Earth Spirit 
was present. The exact character of this spirit was not clear, 
but its high destiny lay in Christ. In him all our finest 
possibilities centered. But the world rejected him once and 
it has been continually rejecting him. For me during all 
that period the source of most of the torture was that it was 
now too late and that some overwhelming world catastrophe 
was imminent. 

The disturbance is past now, but I keep wondering if 
there may not be some elements of truth in that idea. Cer- 
tainly we are not justified in any great amount of optimism 
in view of the failure of the Christian nations to rise to the 
occasion when the greatest opportunity in history lay be- 
fore them. In view of this feeling I have sometimes won- 
dered if in the experience of the Hebrew prophets there 
may not have been a sort of madness in which the aware- 
ness of national danger was a determining factor. 

This letter was written some seven weeks after I had left 
Westboro to take up my studies at Harvard. It raises a central 
question, one with which I had been faced in the experience 
which had sent me to the hospital. It is a question with which 
I have since been grappling in my efforts to discover the inter- 
relationship between mental disorder and religious experience. 




i LEFT WESTBORO toward the end of January, 1922, after a 
fifteen months' sojourn there, and took residence in the Episco- 
pal Theological School in Cambridge, where my friend Norman 
Nash was teaching. With his help, arrangements were made by 
which I entered as a special student in the Andover Theological 
Seminary, which at that time was affiliated with the Harvard 
Divinity School. I was thus enabled to take a course in social 
ethics under Dr. Richard C. Cabot and one in abnormal psy- 
chology under Professor William McDougall. I was also ad- 
mitted to Dr. Macfie Campbell's seminar on the psychology of 
belief at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital. In addition I took 
courses with Professor Henry J. Cadbury and with Professor 
Kirsopp Lake on the beginnings of Christianity, and I continued 
my conferences with Dr. Elwood Worcester at Emmanuel 
Church in Boston. Looking back, I often wonder where else I 
could have found a group of teachers so well suited to my par- 
ticular needs. 

Through Dr. Campbell I was at once introduced to the lead- 
ing authorities in the field of psychiatry, and I was delighted to 
find that there was much support for the views which I had 



worked out independently. In addition to becoming tetter ac- 
quainted with Freud, I delved into Jung, Janet, and Adolph 
Meyer. I was particularly interested in Jung's theory of the 
"racial unconscious" and in his interpretation of human nature 
as purposive. Dr. Cabot was much interested in my story, and 
although he himself did not accept the psychogenic interpreta- 
tion of mental disorder, he gave stanch support to my project. 

As soon as possible I began looking around for a job. First of 
all I investigated the chaplaincy situation. I quickly discovered 
that the plan which I had found in operation at Westboro was 
the prevailing one. Most of our mental hospitals had religious 
services on Sunday, but they were conducted in the afternoon by 
ministers from nearby churches who knew nothing about the 
special problems of the patients. This arrangement was regarded 
as "good public relations," and there was no disposition to 
change. Any suggestion that a minister of religion had anything 
to learn or to contribute was coldly received. I even offered to 
serve as an attendant, but the stipulation that I should be given 
access to case records barred that out. 

The summer of 1922 I spent chiefly in working up reports on 
Westboro, the first copies going always to Alice Batchelder, who 
on my release had granted me permission to write, in so far as 
it might be of help to me. I had spent seven months in making 
a survey of the hospital in pictures. I now organized these pic- 
tures and combined them with a study of the hospital and its 
operations, which I entitled "Studies in a Little-known Country/' 
I spent much time editing and copying the letters which I had 
written to Fred Eastman and Norman Nash, and which they 
had given to Dr. Worcester and he, in turn, to me. A year later 
I brought these together under the tide of "My Own Case 


Record/' It is this private, unpublished document which consti- 
tutes the basis of the present book. And each week I wrote to 
Alice according to the plan I had followed in North Dakota, try- 
ing to make the letters worthwhile. Among my papers I find 
a carbon of one of these letters. 

17 April 1922 

The vacation period brings with it a change of program. 
The idea therefore came to me that this week instead of the 
usual dissertation I would send you as appropriate to the 
Easter season some true New England mayflowers. Ac- 
cordingly I arose early this morning and journeyed to 

I have just returned after a day spent in the same place 
which we visited eleven years ago. I have wandered through 
the chestnut woods where we took lunch and where, but 
for your watchfulness, 1 might have started a forest fire. I 
inspected the stone wall where you stood when you let me 
take your picture, I sat in the same litde station where we 
waited for the train. I need not speak of the memories 
which these places brought back to me, memories full of 
unutterable sorrow for that which might have been. This I 
foresaw when I went. But I decided upon Ponemah for two 
reasons. I considered that if I wanted flowers to send to you, 
there was no better place to look than the one which you 
had shown me. I also considered that the lost can some- 
times be found in the place where the loss occurred. 

As for the flowers, die decision was well justified. It is 
true that in the chestnut woods where we spent most of the 
day I found only a few scattering clumps and not many 
blossoms, and I was beginning to despair. Then I went a 
litde further down the lane and turned in to the right, and 
there, well back from the lane I came upon acres and acres 
of open woodland fairly carpeted with arbutus. It was 


fully as plentiful as in any place I have found, though the 
coloring was not perhaps as deep a pink. It is clear that 
eleven years ago we did not find the best place. 

I filled a box with some of the choicest specimens, pack- 
ing it with damp moss and a few sprays of wintergreen and 
ground-pine and went back to the station to mail it. There 
I made a disconcerting discovery. The entire region was 
quarantined. No trees, shrubs, perennial plants, or greens 
may be shipped outside of the zone now infested by the 
gypsy and brown-tail moths, because of the danger of carry- 
ing their eggs. I had heard of this but I had forgotten it. At 
first I thought of sending the box from Boston. Then it 
came to me that this regulation stood for a principle which 
I should recognize. It was not easy to accept this view, 
and coming back I felt sad and desolate. The weather had 
changed, much as my mood. While in the morning there 
had been bright sunshine, it was now raining. But as the 
train drew near to Boston, the clouds lifted and my mood 
also changed with the thought: "After all, this is as it ought 
to be." 

Then came a hopeful thought. Though I may not send 
you the few little flowers I have gathered and have sent 
them to Mother insteadwho will get them fresh in the 
morning I can tell you of the acres of growing flowers 
which I have found and of the thought of you which they 
have brought to me. Though I may not give you as I wish 
these material tokens, there are other ways in which I can ex- 
press my love for you which are independent of distance and 
of time. And though that which might have been can never 
be recalled, that which still may be will perhaps be better 
than that which might have been, even as from the begin- 
ning it has been my prayer that no desire of mine should 
be granted which might cause you unhappiness or prove 
to be not the best. 

And so instead of the flowers I wanted to send, I am 
sending just the assurance of my constant thought and of 


my complete willingness to express my love for you in 
whatever way may be right and acceptable to you. And I 
am wondering if I may not have found to-day a better 
understanding of you and of the possibilities of our re- 
lationship one to the other. 

For the coming school year I was faced with a financial prob- 
lem. The scholarship allowance which had been granted me 
by Andover Seminary for the previous semester was not re- 
newed. The committee decided that my project did not come 
within the province of a school of religion. This was a serious 
matter, for Mother, out of her slender resources, had already 
gone the limit and beyond in her efforts to help me out. Dean 
Sperry, however, came to the rescue. He took the matter up with 
Rev. J. Edgar Park of the Second Church in West Newton 
and his church advanced the money needed to cover the tuition 
fees of Harvard's graduate school. 

The feature of my academic work that year was Dr. Cabot's 
seminar at Harvard on the preparation of case records for teach- 
ing purposes. I look back upon this as one of the best courses I 
have ever had. Most of the members were leading social workers 
from the Boston area among them Dr. William Healy, Dr. 
Augusta Bronner, Miss Ida Cannon, and Miss Lucy Wright It 
was required of each member that his contribution be submitted 
two weeks in advance of presentation. It was then mimeographed 
and given out the week before. When it was then considered 
by the group, the time was spent not in reading the new mate- 
rial but in exchanging views on subject matter which had been 
read and in many cases commented on in writing "before we as- 

In the same period I attended Professor McDougalFs seminar 
on theories of mind and body. This seminar provided an inter- 


esting contrast to that of Dr. Cabot's in that most of the time 
was given to the reading of new material. I recall one instance 
in which one of the students took three successive evenings for 
the reading of an abstruse paper. 

The most time-consuming task in the year of 1923 was the 
formulation of my project for the study of the interrelationship 
of religious experience and mental illness for presentation to the 
Institute for Social and Religious Research, the agency which 
had taken over the survey findings of the Interchurch World 
Movement. I had been connected with that agency before my 
illness, and I was encouraged by them to present my plan. My 
understanding has been that although the Institute approved 
the project, the National Committee for Mental Hygiene did 
not. Under the proposed plan I was to work at the Boston Psy- 
chopathic Hospital, taking on cases in which the religious fac- 
tors were in evidence. Several modifications were made to meet 
the Institute s criticisms and final decision was delayed until 
February, 1924. 

Meanwhile, in the year 1923-24, I had transferred all my 
operations, with the exception of Dr. Cabot's seminar, to the 
Boston Psychopathic Hospital. There I began work in June, 
1923, under Dr. Frederick Lyman Wells in psychometrics. How- 
ever, I came to the conclusion that in our efforts to measure 
intelligence we were dealing with peripheral rather than with cen- 
trally important factors. I therefore transferred to the Social 
Service Department headed by Miss Susie Lyons. There I found 
just what I was looking for. I was able to study the entire person 
in his social setting. In my previous efforts in the making of socio- 
logical surveys I had found that it was easy to gather facts and 
figures on such things as age, sex, race, education, church affilia- 
tion, etc., but when it came to the more significant factors, such 


as motives, values, and religious experience, there we had to 
stop. We did not dare to ask such questions. But now, as a social 
worker, going into a home to help a person in need, the social 
situation opened up in a way which had not been possible when 
my role was that of a mere inquirer. 

Word finally came that my project had been rejected. Dr. 
Cabot then came to the rescue. He promised to back it himself, 
and he prepared a letter to send out to his friends, soliciting 
their support. In this letter he stressed the great need among the 
neglected mental sufferers, but at the same time he made it very 
clear that he did not believe that a religious worker could do 
anything beyond giving comfort and consolation. 

The letter was about to be sent out when he called me in. It 
had come to his attention through Miss Hannah Curtis, the 
chief of Social Service in the State Department of Mental Dis- 
ease, that Dr. William A. Bryan of the Worcester State Hospital 
was willing to try a chaplain. He wanted to know if I would be 

Of course I was interested. So also was Arthur Holt, the chief 
of the Congregational Social Service Commission, whom I had 
known in Kansas and who four years before had invited me to 
join his staff. He was at that time considering an offer from the 
Chicago Theological Seminary. I had had many conferences 
with him, and he had become much interested in the experiences 
I was uncovering at the Psychopathic Hospital, so much so 
that he had commissioned me to make for him a survey of the 
churches and missions of Boston's Negro section. We had be- 
come convinced that the problem of mental health brought a 
ringing challenge to the Christian Church and that the strategic 
point of attack lay in the theological schools. We were also con- 
vinced that these schools themselves needed overhauling. It 


seemed to us they had been failing to make use of scientific 
method in the study of present-day religious experience. We were 
also impressed hy the failure of the psychologists and sociolo- 
gists and psychiatrists to carry their inquiries to the level of the 
religious. Here then was a great no man's land which needed to 
be explored. Therefore he had been talking with me about join- 
ing his staff in case he accepted the Chicago offer. 

This new opening in Worcester seemed to us both in direct 
line with the plans we had been considering. He therefore ac- 
cepted the Chicago offer, and I accepted Dr. Bryan's offer with 
the understanding that part of my time was to belong to the 
Chicago Theological Seminary. Our new venture was substan- 
tially aided by the Massachusetts Congregational Conference, 
which contributed six hundred dollars toward the chaplain's 

Thus it came to pass that on July i, 1924, 1 arrived in Worces- 
ter, ready to begin my experiment in the religious ministry to 
the mentally ill. So far as I am aware, there was at that time 
only one other full-time chaplain in the mental hospitals of this 
country, the Rev. Sidney Ussher, who was serving on Ward's 
Island, in New York City, under the auspices of the Episcopal 
City Mission Society of New York City. 

In undertaking this new assignment I had a clear understand- 
ing with Dr. Bryan that I was to come as chaplain and research 
worker. I was to have no responsibility for such things as recre- 
ational activities, library, or post office, and I was to have free 
access to the case records, the right to visit patients on all the 
wards, to attend staff meetings where the cases were being dis- 
cussed, and to be recognized as part of the therapeutic team. 

One of my early experiences at Worcester was an encounter 
with the press. It so happened that at the time I arrived 


Worcester's morning newspaper was engaged in writing up the 
hospital The reporter wanted a story from me. Dr. Bryan ap- 
proved but stipulated that I should prepare the copy and let him 
see it. This I did and then gave it to the reporter. The morning 
paper used it without change, but the headline writer got busy. 
In glaring type the morning paper proclaimed, "Worcester Hos- 
pital Appoints Soul Healer/' And the evening paper rewrote 
the article on the basis of the headline. Since that time I have 
been wary of publicity and have made it a policy to rely for 
publicity upon articles in scientific journals rather than upon 
newspapers and magazines. 

One early attempt of mine at putting my message before the 
general public was a paper which I entitled "In Defense of Mr. 
Bryan." It was published in the American Review. Taking my 
departure from the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, I cited 
my studies of church attendance in different regions of the 
United States (see page 67) to support the proposition that 
the influence of the church tended to vary inversely with the 
liberalization of popular religious opinion. The church needed 
an authoritative message of salvation. This the Fundamentalist 
churches supplied. Asked what they were trying to do, their 
leaders would reply in terms of "saving souls," and the revival 
meeting was their common practical activity. Of course they 
were giving treatment without diagnosis, but it was treatment. 
The "liberal" churches, on the other hand, were giving neither 
treatment nor diagnosis. They were defining their task in terms 
of bringing in the kingdom of God, and the sick of soul they 
were turning over to the doctors. Their message had thus become 
apologetic. They were explaining the ancient faith in terms of 
modern thought, failing to go forward in the task of exploring 
the field which was distinctively their own. 


This paper I had entitled originally "In Defense of Mr. 
Bryan by a Disciple of Dr, Fosdick." I was careful to exempt 
Dr. Fosdick himself from the general charge, for he did have 
a message of salvation for the sick of soul. Nevertheless, when I 
submitted the paper to him, he said that if I published the paper 
under that title it would have to be over his dead body. He 
did agree with me in part, going on to say that much of his mes- 
sage he owed to an experience which had sent him to a mental 
hospital during his adolescent period. 1 

Sometime that fall of 1924, 1 was visited by a couple of young 
men whom I had known at the Episcopal Theological School in 
Cambridge and with whom I had had many talks. They came to 
inquire into the possibility of working as attendants in the hos- 
pital, with the idea of learning something about mental illness 
and mental health. So far as I am concerned that was the first 
suggestion of the idea of clinical pastoral training in its stricter 
sense. It came, I believe, from Dr. Cabot. As the inaugurator 
of hospital social work and of the case method in medical educa- 
tion, he was much interested in my undertaking at Worcester, 
and he had on several occasions talked about it and about the 
need of a clinical year for students in theology. It was his article 
in the Survey Graphic for September, 1925, which called na- 
tional attention to the plan. 

The general idea was, of course, in line with the ideas upon 
which Arthur Holt and I had previously agreed, and when, in 
the spring of 1925, 1 was appointed as research associate in the 
Chicago Theological Seminary and went to Chicago to look 
the situation over, we included clinical training in our plan. On 
the way back I visited Union Theological Seminary in New York, 

* Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Living of These Days (New York: Harper 
& Brothers, 1956). 


and then Andover and Boston University, with the result that 
in the summer of 1925 we had four theological students at 
Worcester. One came as a social worker, one as an understudy 
for me ? so that I might be free to spend the fall quarter in Chi- 
cago, and two worked ten hours a day as attendants on the 
ward. The plan went fairly well in spite of a small setback. One 
of the ward workers came with the belief that he was taking his 
life in his hands. I was unaware of his state of mind and had 
had him placed on an interesting receiving ward. He had been 
there hardly fifteen minutes when one of the patients ran amok. 
He brandished a table fork and gave utterance to some high- 
powered words. My new recruit ran into the clothesroom and 
locked himself in, leaving the charge attendant to handle the 
situation alone. It took us a long time to live that down. 

Meanwhile, I had been taking full advantage of the permission 
to write which Alice had given me at the time I left Westboro 
in 1922. That permission had been a guarded one. She made it 
clear that she might not reply and that she gave her consent only 
insofar as it might be of help to me. For about two years I wrote 
once each week. Then, as my plans began to take shape, I raised 
the question whether she might not be willing to share in the 
new task which I saw opening before me. Her reply was sharp 
and decisive. There was no possibility of such a thing, and the 
fact that I had read into her permission to write a meaning which 
was not there made it necessary to withdraw that permission. It 
was the same sort of letter as the one which had bowled me 
over in 1912 before I went to Iowa State College^ following 
the one in which she had written of her skill in keeping house 
and making doughnuts. In my reply I pointed out that this was 
not an answer I could accept. I had never insisted that her 
answer must be the one I wanted, but only that it must be one 


I could accept as God's answer. It was only because she had 
denied me such an answer that I continued to hope. I could 
not and would not give up until that answer had been given. 
Therefore, I would continue to write, trusting that if I were 
wrong in this, she would make it clear to me. 

She did not correct me, and I continued to write. I even went 
to the length of writing her each day a report on the day s hap- 
penings, a sort of "installment letter," which I mailed to her 
each week. But the fact remains that on my visit to Chicago in 
the spring of 1925 she refused to see me, and this refusal was 
for me a particularly significant one. 

On my way back from Chicago I had stopped off at Union 
Seminary for the purpose of recruiting students. There I had 
got just one recruit, a young woman of extraordinary ability 
and charm by the name of Helen Dunbar. She was at that 
time a middler at Union and was working on a Ph.D. in com- 
parative literature. Her thesis was on "Medieval Symbolism and 
Its Consummation in the Divine Comedy/' I was at once inter- 
ested, for ever since my decision not to give up hope in my 
love for Alice, Dante had been for me a sort of patron saint, 
and I had kept his picture hanging in my room. We found other 
things in common. She also was interested in languages, and at 
the age of twenty-two she was conversant with some fifteen lan- 
guages and dialects. Most important was the fact that she was 
planning to study psychiatry, and she was enough interested in 
our project to come and work as an attendant on the wards, 

I arranged for her to serve with our Social Service Depart- 
ment. There she did outstanding work, and even though she 
stayed only one month, she made a contribution which helped 
greatly in the launching of the project. She was quick to see the 
significance of what we were trying to do, and she maintained 


her interest after leaving. Upon me she made a deep impression. 

One of the first problems with which I was faced at Worcester 
was that of finding a hymnal and service book suitable for our 
patients. A small book of worship printed by the local Episcopal 
Church for its own evening service was in use when I took over. 
This provided a service in which the congregation could have a 
large part, not merely in song but in prayer and response, and 
the hymns and the psalms which it contained, while few in 
number, were excellent from the literary standpoint. Therapeu- 
tically, however, there was room for improvement. Of the fif- 
teen psalms, six were of the imprecatory type, with all too many 
references to "enemies," and of the hymns some were actually 
disturbing. The classic example was the well-known hymn, "O 
Christian, dost thou see them?" a hymn which evokes all the 
hallucinations, and calls for action besides. Examination of the 
available hymnals showed that much of the material they con- 
tained was inapplicable to our situation, and some was definitely 
unwholesome. This was particularly true of the gospel songs so 
widely used in this country of ours. In most of them, salvation is 
a matter of the life beyond and is dependent upon the vicarious 
atonement. This appears as an escape device rather than a sum- 
mons to the sacrificial way of life. 

With the encouragement of the Rev. Henry W* Hobson of 
All Saints Church in Worcester, I therefore undertook to com- 
pile one myself. This book, originally entitled Lift Up Your 
Hearts, is now in its fourth revised edition under the tide of 
Hymns of Hope and Courage. It has met with criticism on the 
ground that it is too "high-brow," but I still believe in the prin- 
ciples on which it is built. I am convinced that words do count 
and that religious belief is more likely to be affected by the 
hymns than by the sermons. For mental patients who are grap- 


pling desperately with what for them is Ultimate Reality, it is 
therefore of the utmost importance that the religious service 
should bring suggestions which are wholesome and constructive. 
For this reason I have in this book sought to bring together a col- 
lection of hymns, prayers, and passages of Scripture which have 
some claim to inspiration as measured by literary quality, doc- 
trinal validity, and therapeutic effect, a collection from which 
the inapplicable and the disturbing have been excluded. 

Another production of this beginning period was a paper en- 
tided "Personality Changes and Upheavals Arising out of the 
Sense of Personal Failure." This paper, published in the Ameri- 
can Journal of Psychiatry of April, 1926, presented a chart which 
has ever since constituted my own psychiatric classification 
scheme. It was based upon early case studies at the Boston Psy- 
chopathic Hospital and at Worcester, also upon certain cases of 
religious experience. The distinctive feature of this scheme is the 
differentiation between chronic mental illnesses, with their 
insidious onset, and the acute, stormy types. I attempted in this 
paper to show that the latter may be attempts at reorganiza- 
tion, manifestations of healing power analogous to fever or in- 
flammation in the body, and that, as such, they are closely related 
to the dramatic types of religious experience. 

I had just finished this paper, in the winter of 1925, when I 
chanced upon Harry Stack Sullivan's "Conservative and Malig- 
nant Features of Schizophrenia" in the American Journal of 
Psychiatry of July, 1924. I was deeply interested in this, for it 
gave needed support to my own views. I wrote to him, therefore, 
and a little later I went down to see him at the Sheppard and 
Enoch Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, where at that time he was 
clinical director. I saw him many times after that, always with 
increasing respect and affection. 


In the fall of 1925 I entered upon my duties as research as- 
sociate at the Chicago Theological Seminary, going out to 
Chicago, while Carl Hutchinson, also a research associate in the 
Seminary who had spent the summer at Worcester, took over my 
duties at the hospital. 

My first assignment at Chicago was the study of a small min- 
ing community near La Salle, Illinois. It was an interesting ex- 
perience, although I cannot claim for it any important results 
beyond the fact that it served as a first step in establishing the 
connection with the Chicago Theological Seminary which has 
been so vitally important to me and to the clinical-training 

Meanwhile, Arthur Holt had been active. He had shown 
some of my case studies to Professor Robert E. Park of the 
sociology department of the University of Chicago, Professor 
Park was interested. He said they were most unusual* and sug- 
gested an approach to the Spelman Fund. This we made, and 
the Spelman Fund sent a young representative to look us over. 
A little later we had a visit from Professor W. I. Thomas. My 
understanding has been that their report was favorable, but that 
obstacles were encountered. In the first place, the approval of 
the National Committee for Mental Hygiene was needed, and 
again this was not forthcoming. The other obstacle was a new 
development of great importance. The Chicago Theological 
Seminary became the recipient of a bequest of about three 
and a half million dollars from the estate of Victor Lawson, the 
Chicago publisher. Fortunate though this was 7 it took the edge 
off our appeal for help from the Spelman Fund. 

Many were the dreams which that bequest evoked* So far as 
I was concerned the chief result was the offer of a position 
as assistant professor in the social ethics department. This I re- 


jected for the reason that it seemed to me all-important to main- 
tain a hospital base, tut I was given the position of research 
associate and lecturer with professorial standing. Of major im- 
portance to our project was the appointment of my old friend, 
Fred Eastman, to the chair of religious literature and drama, and 
of Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Jr., to the chair of systematic 

In the summer of 1926 we altered our plan of training at 
the Worcester State Hospital. Dr. Park, of the Second Church 
in West Newton, who had done much to help us in getting 
started, sent out a letter to twelve of his fellow ministers in 
Boston, seeking support. This letter brought in three hundred 
and fifty dollars. This money we used to pay attendants' wages 
to two students who came on full time to do recreational work, 
a service which at that time was not in operation at Worcester. 
After these appointments had been made, two other theological 
students were sufficiently interested to join our group and do 
regular work as attendants* It may be noted that with die advent 
of students I was glad to find for them opportunities to perform 
legitimate service which would permit them to study the prob- 
lem without insisting that this service must be germane to the 
chaplain's office. I did not propose to bring in novices and turn 
them loose to do religious or therapeutic work. 

The fall of 1926 was for me another eventful period. It 
brought rue my first opportunity to teach in a theological semi- 
nary. This meant a lot of hard work of the kind that does not 
make news. In my teaching I used a case discussion method 
modeled somewhat after Dr. Cabot's seminar. We used mimeo- 
graphed case records drawn chiefly from our Worcester labora- 
tory. These were given in advance to the students, along with 


questions and references. The preparation of the needed mate- 
rial was quite a chore. In addition to my own class there was a 
joint seminar with Professor Holt in social ethics, and one with 
Professor McGiffert in theology. These stimulated significant 
questions and opened up new fields of research. 

Once more I found myself a near neighbor of Alice. Still she 
refused to see me, and still I continued to write. But toward the 
end of the quarter I changed my policy. This I announced in a 
letter written on Christmas Day in 1926. 

My thoughts to-day go to the problem which has so long been up- 
permost in my mind, that of the relationship which through all these 
years has been central for me. What is now the right course for me 
to follow? I believe that I can see the answer. 

For many years my love for you has been the controlling influence 
in my life. It is for me associated with all that is best and holiest 
Out of it has come my call to the ministry. It has been for me not 
merely the love of a man for a woman, but a love that has been 
linked with a desperate cry for salvation. 

The experience which sent me to Westboro I interpret as the 
ending of the dependent relationship which was involved. It has 
left me free and has given me a task that makes life worth living, 
even though the hope upon which I staked everything is denied. 

It has taken me some time to accept this. I have recognized it and 
at the same time I have clung to you. 

It seems to me that the time has now come to end this one-sided 
relationship. While the privilege of writing has meant very much to 
me and I give it up with real reluctance and with deep sadness, I 
feel that there is nothing I can do to make more clear my love for 
you and my need of you. I therefore rest my case. 

My loyalty to you has not changed, nor will it ever change. In 
ceasing to write to you I shall not cease to keep the daily record 
which these letters have contained, and I shall seek ever to be true 
to the Higher Loyalty, as you have always required of me. 


I love you and I need you, "but I must cease my own striving. 
TMs I do with the assurance that whatever is test I may safely leave 
to you and to Him into whose service my love for you has led me. 

Toward the spring of 1927 Helen Dunbar again entered the 
picture. She had meanwhile won the traveling fellowship at 
Union Seminary and was now a student at the Yale Medical 
School, All her leisure time she was using in the study of symbol- 
ism, and she wanted to include symbolism which was not medie- 
val. She therefore turned to Worcester. She wanted to know what 
sort of symbolism we were finding in our acutely disturbed pa- 
tients, and under what conditions it occurred. She made several 
trips to the hospital and worked out -a questionnaire on schizo- 
phrenic thinking, I was more than ever impressed with her swift 
intelligence, her keen understanding, and her enormous capacity 
for work. I saw in her an instrument of the finest precision sent 
to help in the new undertaking. 

In the summer of 1927 we again altered our plan at Worcester. 
We paired the students, each pair doing the work of one at- 
tendant. We then raised money from interested friends, so that 
each student received fifty dollars a month, which at that time 
was the regular attendants wage, and claimed half of the stu- 
dent's time for a program of service and of study. This group 
was an outstanding one. It included Don Beatty with his splendid 
talents, Aleck Dodd, a true physician of souls, and Mark Entorf , 
who contributed much to our research program. This group really 
put our project on the map, so far as the hospital was concerned. 
Throughout the history of this movement, the students have 
had an important part in winning recognition of, and support 
for, our work. Certainly they have done much to make up for 
my own deficiencies. 

During that same summer we had a visit from Frank Buch- 


man, the leader of the "Oxford Group" movement. One of our 
physicans had attended a "house party" of the Group. There 
he met a young Englishman whom he invited to the hospital. 
Shordy thereafter Mr. Buchman received a "guidance" to come 
along with him. This he did in company with several of the 
faithful, and we had a sort of house party at the hospital. 

In appearance there was nothing striking about Frank Buch- 
man. He impressed us as an ordinary, successful businessman; 
but he had remarkable persuasive powers. We brought him one 
morning to the diagnostic staff meeting. When the meeting was 
over, about nine o'clock, Dr. Bryan, as host, stopped to talk with 
him. After about half an hour Dr. Hill, our assistant superin- 
tendent, strolled in to ask Dr. Bryan a question. He also got in- 
terested, and those two busy executives stayed there talking 
with Mr, Buchman until well past noon! Dr. Bryan said to me 
the next morning, "I could hardly get to sleep last night for 
thinking of what that man said to me." Dr. Hill explained 
that he was fascinated by Buchman's psychiatric understanding 
and his skill in dealing with individuals, particularly his tech- 
nique of painting a picture of the fine possibilities he saw in 
one, and then, perhaps, raising some shrewd question as to what 
might be blocking the development of those possibilities. 

Our students were divided in their reaction. Some were 
warmly responsive. Others were skeptical, particularly regarding 
the reliability of the "guidances." We were all struck by Mr. 
Buchman's lack of interest in the patients and their problems. 
Not even a promising young student who had become acutely 
disturbed following his visit to a house party drew more than 
passing attention from him. 

One of our students who had attended the College Confer- 
ence of the Young Men's Christian Association at Northfield 


that summer reported that the "Buchmanites" were the only 
ones there who were active in the personal evangelism which 
had been such an important feature of the Northfield College 
Conference at the time I visited it back in 1904. Apparently 
Frank Buchman was a present-day representative of the evange- 
lism represented by such leaders as Mott and Speer and Henry 

Toward the end of the summer of 1927 Don Beatty expressed 
his readiness to stay on for a full year in accordance with Dr. 
Cabot's idea. I shall never forget the consultation with Dr. Cabot 
which followed this decision. He listened with keen interest. 
Then he said, "Thus far IVe done nothing to help, but I will 
this year/' Thereupon he wrote a memorandum and handed 
it to me, saying, "Give that to my secretary/* What he gave me 
was an order for one hundred dollars a month. He then offered 
to take us down to Harvard Square. We went with him to his 
fine three-car garage and got in the only car he possessed, a 1925 
Model T Ford! 

Beatty s advent put new vigor into the work of our department. 
He is one of the most versatile persons I have ever met and one 
of the most generous with his time and strength. The class 
prophet, writing in his college annual at Mount Union, Ohio, 
described him as "a man with a glorious voice, who in twenty 
years will be doing something different and distinctive/* That 
prophet was right. Beatty s clear, powerful, finely trained voice, 
his ability as a leader, his clear understanding of the patients 
and their problems, his effectiveness as a preacher, writer, and 
executive were all invaluable in getting our new project under 
way. Among other things, he took hold of the hospital news- 
sheet which I had started in 1926. I had depended upon type- 


writer and bulletin board. At his suggestion we purchased an 
ancient mimeograph. This %vas soon used extensively not only 
for the news-sheet but for the duplicating of case records for 
teaching purposes, which had become all-important in my teach- 
ing assignment at the Chicago Theological Seminary, We also 
worked together in the issuing of a "Hospital Pictorial" during 
the summer quarter. 

The year 1927 saw the beginning of an ambitious project for 
the neuro-endocrine study of dementia praecox under the direc- 
tion of Dr. Roy G. Hoskins of the Harvard Medical School. I 
was at once impressed with Dr. Hoskins and with his attitude 
and methods, and I conceived the idea of availing myself of his 
carefully worked up cases for the study of the religious factors 
in schizophrenic disturbances. Later on, I served for a time on 
his staff, and for several years he used our students as observers. 

In the summer of 1928 we had a group of twelve students, in- 
cluding Beatty and Dodd, who had been with us throughout 
the year. An outstanding contribution from this group was in the 
person of Philip Guiles, who stayed with us and had a leading 
part in the organization of the movement. He was a charming 
person of farseeing vision and contagious enthusiasm who had 
much to give. 

No account of these early years at Worcester would be com- 
plete which did not take account of the seminars which from the 
beginning were held twice each week in the Trustees' Room dur- 
ing the summer period. In these we discussed the interrelation- 
ship between religious experience and mental disorder, and 
problems related thereto. Dr. Lewis B. Hill, our brilliant young 
assistant superintendent, was in general charge, and Dr. Bryan 
himself frequently sat in with us. Others of the hospital staff 


who gave valuable aid included Dr. Spafford Ackerly and Dr. 
Henry B. Moyle. These sessions were open to the professional 
staff, and they elicited much interest. I like to think that our 
animated discussions had some part in the development of 
Worcester's ambitious program of research and instruction. 

On the 2nd of June in 1928 there came an event of greatest 
importance to me. For the first time in eight years Alice con- 
sented to see me. This happy development was the answer to 
my letter of Christmas Day, 1926. The response had not come 
all at once. It was nine months before she replied at all. She 
then sent me a birthday card. Early in January, 1928, in response 
to a. Christmas letter of mine, I received a full letter from her, 
then other letters. Then in June we met. She expressed some 
apprehension over this meeting. "It won't be easy for either of 
us/' she wrote, "and we may not Tiave a good time/ But we 
are neither of us children, and I hope we can adjust to the 
demands of the situation.'* I came on from Worcester for the 
occasion. We met at Marshall Field's and had not the slightest 
difficulty in recognizing each other. For luncheon we went to 
the Palmer House. In a letter of June 1 1, she spoke of deferring 
her letter until she could be sure that our meeting had been 
a step taken in the right direction, adding that it had so seemed 
to her. 

Following this meeting we saw each other as often as circum- 
stances and Chicago's vast distances would permit. During the 
fall quarters of 1928 and 1929 this meant at least every other 
week, and during the other quarters I was able to find occasion 
for several visits to Chicago. Usually we had lunch together 
downtown, and then went to a play or to an opera. There was 
no lack of things to talk about. She was ready to acknowledge 


her Interest in the clinical-training project, and her suggestions 
were always helpful, her judgment sound. 

On Thanksgiving Day in 1929 we knelt together before the 
altar in Hilton Chapel and entered into a covenant of friend- 
ship, one with the other. Of this she wrote: 


You have been very much in my thoughts to-day, both because of 
these lovely and unusual roses, which I found awaiting me when 
I reached home, and because of the events of last night I don't know 
why I should be any less direct and honest in speaking of something 
like that, than in uttering words of warning so I will tell you what 
perhaps you could see for yourself, that I was profoundly moved by 
what took place. 

I was, and am, thankful for the prayer. I believe that brought us 
closer together than anything that has ever happened the fact that 
we could in one spirit come to God together. 

And the little roses you gave me to wearstill fresh on the table 
have been a message and a reminder of our covenant, and for the 
first time in all these twenty-seven years I feel that I can with safety 
and with entire honesty sign myself 

with real affection, 

In the four weeks remaining until my return to Worcester, 
we saw each other several times and exchanged a number of let- 
ters. In one of these, which came shortly after I returned to 
Worcester, I find the following: 

Your installment letter came Monday and your Sunday note ar- 
rived yesterday. Before I forget it, let me say-Write Sunday eve- 
nings, if you want to and when you want to, but don t ever feel that 
it is a custom or rite or anything else that must be observed. There 
should be no "must" in friendship. Links of bondage welded to- 
gether in the early days of free and eager giving too often become 


galling later. So be very sure that I mate no demands of any kind. 
You are absolutely free in every way. 

A little later in the same letter she wrote, referring to a pin I 
had given her, one I had brought from Germany: 

You must have thought me unappreciative about the pin. You took 
me so completely by surprise, and I gave expression to my first quick 
feeling that you must not give me costly gifts. But I want you to 
know what I think of the pin itself, which is that I consider it one 
of the most exquisite things 1 have ever owned. The fire colors 
in the opal, the delicacy of the carving, the perfect fitness of the 
onyx setting, all make it so beautiful that I look upon it and say to 
myself, "Is it really mine?" And it is mine, given and accepted as a 
memento of our covenant of friendship. 

During this period our undertaking had been developing 
finely. Articles under my name had appeared in the major 
psychiatric and sociological journals and we were making 
friends in important theological schools. 

In the Christmas vacation of 1928 our clinical-training project 
was presented before the section on religion of the American 
Sociological Society at their Washington, D.C., meeting. Arthur 
Holt was the chairman of that section, and Dr. Hill of Worcester 
read the paper, doing an excellent job. In the course of the ani- 
mated discussion which followed, I let slip the view that there 
was much to support the ancient theological doctrine that con- 
viction of sin was a first step in the process of salvation. To 
many of those present such a view was heresy, and they were 
not slow in so expressing themselves. I was greatly delighted 
when Dr. Harry Stack Sullivan, who had come to this meeting 
at my invitation, arose and defended my position in one of his 
characteristically keen and witty speeches. 


Our summer group increased in number to sixteen. The group 
picture that year is noteworthy because of the absence of Beatty s 
face. He had gone as chaplain to the Pittsburgh City Home and 
Hospital at Mayview to establish a second training center. The 
group picture is also noteworthy for the first appearance of 
Carroll Wise's face. He also has made a very important contribu- 
tion to the cause. 

A development of great importance was Philip Guiles's de- 
cision to give himself to the cause of clinical training. I first an- 
nounced this good news to Dr. Cabot at the annual conference 
of the National Council for Religion in Higher Education at 
Wells College in 1929. He was as pleased as I was and promised 
to back our budget to the extent of eighteen hundred dollars. 
This talk, a delightful one, took place on the evening before 
the final day, as we lay on the lawn overlooking the lake. The 
next day each of the interest groups made its report. The group 
with which I had been meeting embodied in its report one of 
my pet doctrines, viz., that the sense of guilt is a major factor in 
mental disorder and that it is essentially a social judgment which 
the individual accepts and pronounces upon himself. When this 
report was read, Dr. Cabot stood up straight as a ramrod and 
stated that he thought it his duty to say that he did not believe 
there was a word of truth in that report. Happily, however, 
this conviction of his did not change his attitude toward our 

The year 1930 brought with it important developments. First 
among these was the incorporation of the "Council for the Clini- 
cal Training of Theological Students/' This took place on 
January 21 in the study of Rev, Samuel A. Eliot at the Arling- 
ton Street Church in Boston. The ^corporators, in addition to 


Dr. Eliot, were Dr. Cabot, president and treasurer; Rev. Henry 
Wise Hobson, of All Saints Church in Worcester, now bishop 
of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, vice-president; Dr. 
William A. Bryan, of the Worcester State Hospital; Dr. William 
Healy, of the Judge Baker Foundation in Boston; Rev. Ashley 
Day Leavitt, of the Harvard Congregational Church in Brookline, 
Massachusetts. I was secretary, and Philip Guiles, at whose in- 
stance the incorporation had taken place, was field secretary. He 
was charged with the responsibility of raising money, recruiting 
students, and opening new centers. At Guiles's suggestion we ap- 
pointed Helen Dunbar of our own first training group as medical 
director. As a winner of Union Seminary's traveling fellowship, 
as a doctor of philosophy and author of a scholarly book on medie- 
val symbolism, as a doctor of medicine just returning from a year's 
study with the great European psychiatrists, it would have been 
hard to find any one better qualified. This post she held for 
fifteen years at no little cost to herself. 

In June of that year, 1930, my mother died, and my sister 
and I took the body back to the old home in Indiana. My in- 
debtedness to Mother cannot be measured. She lived for her 
children and made every sacrifice in order that they might have 
their chance to develop. Perhaps her most important character- 
istic was her faith in us. She was even too careful to leave us free 
to choose for ourselves. There was thus no word of reproach 
when I failed to make the grade after graduation in 1897. She 
acceded at once to my change of profession in 1903, and again 
in 1908. And finally in 1922, it was her faith in me that made 
possible the new undertaking. Not only did she back me finan- 
cially to the limit of her resources, but in the dark days at West- 
boro she always stood by me, and her beautifully written letters 
brought their all-important message of comfort and faith. 


The fall after lier death I did not make my usual visit to Chi- 
cago. Instead, I accepted a tempting offer from Dr. Hoskins to 
serve on his research staff at Worcester. I was to help in abstract- 
ing the ward observations and to devote myself more vigorously 
to my own study of the religious factors in schizophrenia. Mean- 
while, the course on religion and mental health at Chicago was 
given by Dr. Thaddeus Ames. It was understood that I was to 
return in 1931. 

Late in November of 1930 there came a serious setback. I suf- 
fered another acute psychotic episode. For this disturbance I 
do not have the full data which I had for the Westboro debacle. 
They were not saved this time. But the causative factors are 
fairly clear. There were complications in my relationship with 
Alice. The shadow of another, younger woman lay between us. 
It was a gracious shadow, sanctioned, seemingly, by the idea 
of the f amily-of-four, which had been so strangely insistent dur- 
ing the psychotic episodes. This other woman knew about Alice, 
and Alice knew about her. She had had a part in our meeting 
of 192,8. She was even included in our covenant of friendship. 
There was no disloyalty to either one. I discussed the situation 
with Alice, and always I found her wise and helpful. But it was 
hard to see the way, and I was greatly troubled. The climax 
came as a delayed reaction following a meeting of the three of 
us, held at my suggestion, when the finding of the right solution 
became for me an urgent problem. 

As in the previous episodes, the actual disturbance followed 
a period of intensified absorption and prayer. I was working at 
the time on the revision of the hymnal and I recall a period of 
uncontrollable sobbing. It seemed that something which ought 
to have been, was not to be. I had failed, and the world was in 
danger. In great distress of mind I started forth in my car. First, 


I looked up Phil Guiles and turned over to him the responsibility 
for the project. Then, following my promptings, I drove to my 
sister s home in Arlington. From there I went to the home of a 
cousin in Exeter, New Hampshire; thence back to Boston. 
There I parked the car and took a train for New York. After 
a few hours there I returned to Boston and called on Dr. Cabot. 
Of that visit I recall that I identified with my father, in- 
quiring about myself in the third person. Dr. Cabot was much 
alarmed and saw to it that I was at once hospitalized. 

The ideation, as nearly as I can remember it, was much the 
same as at Westboro. Something terrible was about to happen. 
This world of ours was to have become a brilliant star; but 
something had gone wrong, and it was now to become a Milky 
Way. I was, it seemed, or should have been, a very important 
person, and my failure was chiefly responsible for the impend- 
ing catastrophe. The family-of-four idea was also present. I be- 
came aware of new dimensions. Mysterious forces were at work, 
some of them evil forces which took the form of mice and ran 
up and down in the spinal column. It was all very terrifying. 

Fortunately, the disturbed condition lasted less than three 
weeks. Then it cleared up, I awakened as out of a bad dream. 
So far as I can determine, I was none the worse for it. In fact, it 
solved the problem which had occasioned it. The two women 
both stood by me, but they could not ignore the seriousness of 
the disturbance, and my attempt to interpret the family-of-four 
idea in accordance with my own wishes was definitely ended. 
This disturbance thus differed from those at Westboro in that 
the latter were clearly constructive. Painful though they were, 
they marked a new and creative development. The disturbance 
of 1930, on the other hand, merely saved me from a situation 
which should not have arisen. Even though I was myself the 


better for it, the social effects were in some ways disastrous. 
There was damage to the project. 

Dr. Cabot, the president of the new "Council/' was particu- 
larly aroused. He had throughout been opposed to the psycho- 
genie interpretation of mental illness. My views now became 
abhorrent to him. He decreed that I must have nothing to do 
with the program of instruction. Phil Guiles supported him 
in this. Dr. Dunbar stood by me and saved the day so far as I 
was concerned. 

Phil Guiles, naturally enough, felt it important to have me out 
of the way, and he started to raise money from among my friends 
in order to send me to Europe. Knowing nothing of this, I had 
meanwhile made arrangements with the Massachusetts Con- 
gregational Conference to continue the fifty-dollar-a-month 
stipend which they had been giving me. I had also secured Dr. 
Bryan's consent to my staying on in the hospital in order to con- 
tinue the research project which I had started in collaboration 
with Dr. Hoskins, and Dr. Hoskins had agreed to let me have 
a secretary to help with that project. Such a helper I had found 
in Miss Geneva Dye of the previous summer s training group, 
and a very efficient, fine person she was. I had also resumed my 
work on the revision of the hymnal. I could not therefore see 
my way clear to going to Europe at the expense of my friends 
when there was so much to be done at Worcester. And I knew 
very well that if I allowed the research project to get cold, it 
might never be finished. A difficult situation thus arose. 

Nevertheless, the good work went on. At Worcester in the 
summer of 1931 there were twenty students, and through 
Guiles's unflagging efforts new centers were opened, one at the 
Rhode Island State Hospital, under Aleck Dodd; another at the 
Syracuse Psychopathic Hospital, under William Boehnker and, 


later, Harold HildretL At the same time Guiles himself found 
time to start a chaplaincy program at the Massachusetts General 


Because of the complications resulting from my tailspin, it 
seemed to me better to shift my base of operations from Worces- 
ter to the Elgin State Hospital in Illinois, where the super- 
intendent, Dr. Charles F. Read, was already acquainted with our 
project and ready to respond. Such a shift had the advantage 
of making possible a closer relationship with the Chicago Theo- 
logical Seminary, which from the beginning had sponsored my 
work. More than that, Chicago with its nine Class A theological 
schools, was the center of theological education in the Middle 
West, if not in the country, 

Not least among the considerations in my own mind was the 
fact that Chicago was Alice Batchelder s home, and in this new 
setting I continued to see her as often as her duties and her health 
permitted. She had been since 1919 a "working girl," employed 
as chief of the credit section of the Continental-Illinois Bank, 
with a weekday schedule which required geting up at six, hurry- 
ing off to work at seven-thirty, back home at six, with dinner 
and housekeeping to take care of. Her little leisure time in the 
evening was used in reading to the "girls" who shared her apart- 
ment and in lessons in journalism or creative writing. Her Sun- 
days were taken up with church in the morning and an at 
home" to visitors in afternoon and evening. Her duties were aug- 
mented by the fact that the third member of the little household 
had become a helpless invalid. I saw her usually about once a 
month, when we took dinner downtown or went together to the 


opera, to an occasional play, or out for a drive in Chicago's sub- 
urbsmeetings which are precious memories to me. 

The transfer to Elgin was made on April i, 1932, and that 
summer we opened the new training center with a group of nine 
students, an outstanding group which helped splendidly to get 
things started right, 

We began with a vigorous program of service, similar to that 
at Worcester. The first step was the transfer of the service of 
worship from the afternoon to the morning. This made it possible 
for patients to attend without fear of missing their visitors, and 
the average attendance at once doubled. A second step was the 
organization and training of a vested choir of patients to replace 
the hired soloist from downtown. This made possible the type of 
service I wanted to develop. A third step was the organization 
of an intramural Softball league, made up of patients, in place 
of the semiprofessional baseball team composed chiefly of play- 
ers from downtown. Then on the Fourth of July and Labor Day 
we held play festivals similar to those I had staged at Westboro. 
In order to promote these activities we issued each week a mimeo- 
graphed news-sheet called the Messenger, and during the sum- 
mer we supplemented this with a Pictorial similar to the one 
that had been published at Worcester. The students not only 
helped with these activities but they worked on the wards as at- 
tendants sixteen hours a week. 

With Elgin's five thousand patients this was a heavy program, 
but we found it rewarding. The work on the wards and the 
recreational activities provided normal contacts with the patients 
and gave us unrivaled opportunities to serve and to observe. 
Each student was required to submit written observations day 
by day and to work up, intensively, at least one case. Such 


findings, together with selected readings, were then discussed 
in our group conferences. Not least in importance was the privi- 
lege of attending the hospital's regular clinical staff conferences. 

This full program was of course possible only in the summer 
period, but two of the group, Rothe Hilger and Ronald Fred- 
erickson, felt the challenge sufficiently to stay on for a full 
year. With their help we continued the program in reduced 
form for the rest of the year. 

In addition to the program of service and of instruction, I 
found time to continue my program of inquiry, and the first year 
at Elgin saw the publication of work already done before I left 
Worcester. My "Problem of Values in the Light of Psycho- 
pathology ' appeared in the American Journal of Sociology of 
July, 1932, and the second edition of the hospital hymnal ap- 
peared under the title of Hymns of Hope and Courage instead 
of Lift Up Your Hearts. This revision was a drastic one. As in 
the case of the first edition, it was made possible by the gen- 
erosity of friends. Cecil Smith, assistant professor of music at the 
University of Chicago and assistant professor of religious music 
at the Chicago Theological Seminary was the music editor. 

In the summer of 1933 we had a group of eleven students, 
with Victor Schuldt and his wife, a talented couple, staying on 
for a full year. One of the major events of that year, from my 
standpoint, was the publication in the American Journal of Psy- 
chiatry of my "Experiential Aspects of Dementia Praecox." This 
thirty-three-page article contained the results of the study I had 
made at Worcester in collaboration with Dr. Hoskins in his re- 
search on the neuro-endocrine factors in dementia praecox. I 
was able to show in this study that religious concern tends to be 
associated with the reactions of anxiety and self-blame and that 
the outcome in such reactions is relatively favorable. In sharp 


contrast, the reactions of drifting tend toward progressive dis- 
integration, and those of delusional misinterpretation eventuate 
generally in stabilization on an unsatisfactory basis. A feature 
of this study is the attention given to schizophrenic ideation, 
and the finding that acute schizophrenic reactions tend to be 
associated with a characteristic constellation of ideas. This study 
provided the basis for a book, on which I had already begun 

In the summer of 1934 there were sixteen students in our 
training program, and a really notable group it was, with Fran- 
cis McPeek, Wayne Hunter, and Fred Kuether all throwing 
in their lot with the Council for Clinical Training. The latter 
two stayed on through the year of 1934-35. 

The Council, under the active leadership of Dr. Dunbar 
and Dr. Hill, was looking up that year. Two memorable confer- 
ences were held, one in New York and the other in Philadelphia. 
The former I shall long remember. Dr. Cabot, as president, was 
to give the keynote paper at our evening meeting, but on our 
arrival in New York we were told that he would be unable to 
attend because of the serious illness of his wife. However, that 
evening he was there and gave his paper. His wife had died that 
morning, but he had immediately left for New York, saying 
that was what she would have him do. That paper was the 
nucleus of The Art of Ministering to the Sick, the book which 
he and Russell Dicks put out together. 

Some three months later, Dr. Cabot used that same paper 
in the Alden-Tuthill Lectures at the Chicago Theological Semi- 
nary. He had by this time expanded it to three lectures, one of 
which was entitled 'The Wisdom of the Body/' In that unforget- 
table lecture he described the marvelous devices employed by 
the body in maintaining and restoring health. In talking with 


him afterward, I ventured to suggest that I was interested in the 
attempt to find the analogous processes in the human mind. Dr. 
Cabot shook his head emphatically and replied that he be- 
lieved thoroughly in the wisdom of the body, but not in that of 
the mind. 

The summer of 1935 brought together in our training program 
another outstanding group, nineteen in number. Especially im- 
portant was the presence of Don Beatty, who had been forced 
to leave Pittsburgh, after six years of distinguished service, be- 
cause of a political upset which had ousted his superintendent. 
The end of the summer found Beatty, Hunter, and McPeek 
staying on. A stronger combination it would have been hard to 

On August 24, 1935, I received a note from Alice, saying 
that she was going into retirement for an operation and that the 
edict had gone forth, "No callers, no flowers/* I discovered 
soon that the difficulty was cancer and that the outlook was 

I was working at the time on the dedication of my Exploration 
of the Inner World, which was about ready to go to press. It 
had long been my intention to dedicate this book to her, and I 
now became wholly absorbed in the task of writing this dedica- 
tion. I began to see things from her standpoint. How often I 
had disappointed her! What poor use I had made of our friend- 
ship, failing in these later years to reach the deeper levels of 
understanding! And now she was leaving! Then I was carried 
away into an abnormal condition and some of die ideas I had 
had in Washington in 1908 came flooding back (see p. 59). 
Once more I saw myself as a wretch in direst need upon whom 
she had taken pity. Again I had the idea that this earth should 
have become a brilliant star, but something had gone wrong and 


instead it would become only a Milky Way. I recall identifying 
myself with my father, and feeling that he was getting old and 
would be unable to carry on much longer. 

Fortunately, Beatty and McPeek and Hunter were quick to 
recognize the signs of trouble and there was no disruption of 
the social situation. They guarded me carefully, and on Novem- 
ber 1 1 they spirited me away to the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt 
Hospital in Baltimore so quietly that scarcely anyone in Elgin 
knew about it. I was there on December 2, at the time of Alice's 
death. About two weeks later I was able to return and resume 
my teaching at the Seminary before the end of the quarter. Once 
more the disturbance had cleared up within four weeks. I look 
upon this episode as another problem-solving experience. Its 
meaning I find in the clarification of my relationship with Alice. 

My Exploration of the Inner World was published in 1936. 
It had visited the editorial offices of eight different publishers 
before Willett and Clark finally accepted it. The following year 
was marked by two series of conferences, both of which grew out 
of the publication of this book. The first of these was held at the 
home of Professor McGiffert, with a selected group of specialists 
in psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, sociology in attendance. 
The other, for ministers in the Chicago area, was held under 
the auspices of the Chicago Council for Clinical Training in the 
La Salle Street building of the Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion. In each series the discussions centered upon some case 

The striking thing brought out at the interdisciplinary con- 
ferences was the reluctance of the theologians to recognize any 
obligation of theirs in the province of mental illness. Rather 
to my surprise, the chief opposition came from Professor Henry 
Nelson Wieman of the Chicago Divinity School. He recognized 


that Augustine W., the patient whose case I had used in the 
first chapter of my Exploration, had some religious ideas, but 
he saw no significance in that fact. What were those ideas but 
verbalizations taken over from the environment? All of us, he 
held, make use of an accepted currency of ideas. If this is true 
of normal persons, how much more so of psychotics! Dr. David 
Slight, of die University of Chicago, who represented the psy- 
chiatrists, took the position that the trouble with most of the 
mentally ill is that they are trying to be too good and that his 
job as a physician was to make them live dogs rather than dead 

On November 29, 1937, a conference on the present-day 
status of the psychology of religion was held at the Quadrangle 
Club with Professor Edmund S. Conklin of Indiana University 
as speaker. The picture presented was not roseate. Professor 
Conklin was impressed with the high hopes which had pre- 
vailed in the first decade of the century, when William James, 
Stanley Hall, George A. Coe, Edwin D. Starbuck, and James 
Bisset Pratt were vigorously active, and all were looking forward 
enthusiastically to a new day in the study of religion. But in 
1937, he said, if a graduate student in any of our major uni- 
versities were to offer a doctoral thesis in the psychology of re- 
ligion, it would not be accepted. With this view Professor Carr 
and Professor Kingsbury of the psychology department of the 
University of Chicago both agreed* 

Early in 1938 there came an important change in my situa- 
tion. I was brought in to the Chicago Theological Seminary to 
give full time to writing and teaching, while Beatty took over 
as chaplain at the Elgin State Hospital under an arrangement 
whereby he gave two days a week to teaching at the Seminary* 
During this period, at Arthur Holt's suggestion, I undertook 


a study of the Pentecostal sects which had been growing so 
rapidly during the 1930*5. My task was to find out if they were 
really growing as fast as reported, and if so, why"? What could 
we learn from them? This study was financed by the Congrega- 
tional Council for Social Action and, later, by a grant-in-aid from 
the Social Science Research Council. In this study I sought to 
tie into the survey work I had done some thirty years before 
and also to apply to living religious experience the insights de- 
rived from my work at the hospital Following my usual plan, 
I chose certain counties as sample areas within which I could 
see the Pentecostal groups in their setting. In the course of this 
study, I made surveys of Coles County, Illinois; Monroe and 
Lawrence counties in Indiana; Gibson County, Tennessee; Stone 
and Vernon counties in Missouri; Lee County, Alabama; and 
Chester County, South Carolina. I also made brief surveys of 
Springfield, Missouri; Princeton and Richmond, Indiana; and 
Athens, Ohio. I drew also upon my earlier study of Roxbury, 
Massachusetts, which I had made in 1924 for Dr. Holt while at 
the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (see p. 149). 

This study brought out the somewhat surprising fact that the 
economic depression of the 1930'$ had not been marked by any 
demonstrable increase in mental illness, but it had resulted in 
a considerable degree of religious quickening among the under- 
privileged classes, upon whom the strains fell most heavily. I 
found the explanation in the fact that in facing economic hard- 
ship, these people had reacted in accordance with the Christian 
principles in which they had been reared. Instead of blaming 
others and seeking to change the social order, they took stock 
of their own shortcomings, and thinking and feeling together 
about the things which matter most, they came through with 
a deepened sense of fellowship and a religious faith, which came 


alive for them. The Pentecostal groups thus represented the 
creative phase of organized religion, and with all their weak- 
nesses and crudities, they may be regarded as manifestations of 
healing power. 

Late in 1938 and early the following year I had several pleas- 
ant visits with my old Forest Service chief, Raphael Zon. He 
was at this time director of research for the Forest Service's 
North Central Region, with headquarters at the University of 
Minnesota. He was also engaged in helping Gifford Pinchot 
write his autobiography. On one of his trips East he stopped off 
and met with some of the faculty members at the University of 
Chicago. We questioned him particularly regarding his concepts 
of social ecology, which he had formulated back in 1906, some 
time before the sociologists had taken it up. We also quizzed him 
regarding his impressions of Russia, which he had revisited 
shortly before in connection with an international forestry con- 
gress. His knowledge of Russian life and language, his personal 
acquaintance with some of his Russian fellow-revolutionaries, in- 
cluding Kerenski and Lenin, enabled him to speak with some 
authority, and we were all impressed with his fairness and 
breadth of view. One of the principles upon which he insisted 
was that any person and any nation should be judged by what 
it is in process of "becoming, rather than by what it now is. 
From that standpoint, he was impressed by the enormous improve- 
ment in Russia in the matter of education and industrial de- 
velopment He was also convinced that the Russian people 
were pretty solidly behind their government and that there 
had been tragic misunderstanding in this country of everything 
having to do with Russian relations. 

During my period of residence at the Seminary, I wrote a 
number of articles for scientific periodicals, four of which ap- 



peared in Psychiatry. This journal was edited by my friend, Dr* 
Harry Stack Sullivan, as an attempt at synthesization and cross- 
fertilization within the related fields of psychiatry, sociology, 
anthropology, and psychology. My "Types of Dementia Prae- 
cox," which appeared in 1938, was a study in psychiatric classi- 
fication. It called attention to the wide discrepancy in the 
prevailing concepts of schizophrenic subtypes. I stressed the im- 
portance of giving more attention to this problem as one of the 
growing points in psychiatric theory, but so far as I can dis- 
cover the only result was that one or two states stopped publish- 
ing their statistics regarding these subtypes* 

My "Form and Content of Schizophrenic Thinking" was pub- 
lished in Psychiatry in 1942. It had its inception in the observa- 
tion that current discussions of this problem were failing to take 
account of these schizophrenic subtypes. I pointed out that the 
term "schizophrenia" is applied to four distinct reaction patterns 
and that most of the so-called "schizophrenic productions'* are 
best explained as reflections of the fragmentation which so often 
characterizes defeated persons. 

Two articles appeared in the Journal of Religion. "The Prob- 
lem of Sin and Salvation in the Light of Psychopathology" was 
written for presentation before the regional meeting of the 
American Theological Association, and "Divided Protestantism 
In a Midwestern County" was presented before the American 
Association of Theological Schools at Lexington, Kentucky. The 
latter was a study of Monroe County, Indiana, where I had 
grown up. 

In 1940 Professor E. A. Ross, of the University of Wisconsin, 
got the idea of adding a book on the sociology of religion to his 
sociological series. He had been impressed by the fact that 
sociologists were not paying enough attention to the phenomena 


of religion. He therefore approached me, and after two confer- 
ences and a good bit of correspondence, I worked out an outline 
which met with his "full approval." Unfortunately, however, his 
publisher did not agree. He felt that any book in the field of 
religion fell outside the limits of profitable activity for his firm. 
Meanwhile, I had become sufficiently interested to go ahead 
with it anyway. Professor Holt then suggested that I collaborate 
with him and with Samuel Kincheloe of the Seminary's sociology 
department in a book on which they were both already working. 
We spent about a year on this, when Holt's sudden death 
brought our plans to an end. 

The year 1942 brought me to the age of retirement. It also 
brought this country of ours into another great war, and Don 
Beatty enlisted as chaplain in the Air Force. This left a vacancy 
at Elgin to which I was once more called. I went there in Sep- 
tember with the understanding that I would be free to accept 
the Earl Lectureship at the Pacific School of Religion during 
the winter quarter. This invitation had come to me through 
its president, Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Jr., whose support 
has meant so much to me and to the clinical-training move- 
ment. I was able to accept it with the help of Philip Schug, 
a student of mine at the Seminary who had been serving an 
intemeship under Beatty at the hospital. He carried on during 
my absence. 

In March, 1943, I returned to Elgin in time to bring to- 
gether, with the help of Fred Kuether, a group of twelve stu- 
dents, among them Tom Klink and Lennart Cedarleaf , who are 
now, in 1960, leaders in the Council, and Carl Stromee, who 
stayed on for two years. Kuether, meanwhile, had accepted the 
chaplaincy of the Illinois Training School for Boys at St. Charles, 
twelve miles from Elgin, and his presence there added im- 


measurably to the strength and interest of our teaching program. 

The chief event on my calendar in 1944 was a study of con- 
scientious objectors, which I undertook at the request of the 
Brethren Service Committee. They had met with a puzzling 
problem. In spite of earnest efforts to develop in their service 
groups a spirit of good will and co-operation, some of their units, 
especially those of the camps, had been showing an amazing 
amount of hostility toward leaders whom they themselves had 
chosen. What was the reason for this, and what should be done 
about it? These were the questions they wanted answered. 

After an intensive study of one of the camps, and brief visits 
to other units, most of them in mental hospitals, where I found 
among the "C.O/s" a very different spirit, I arrived at the con- 
clusion that many of the C.O/s were constitutional objectors, 
rather than conscientious objectors, and that objectors of the 
constitutional variety, because they were troublemakers, tended 
to accumulate in those camps which served as distributing cen- 
ters because they were not in demand. This study was published 
in Psychiatry, and it attracted some attention. 

In our group at Elgin that summer there were nineteen stu- 
dents, among them Granger Westberg and Jesse Ziegler. These 
two came for short periods, but they have had an important place 
in the movement. Westberg is now serving as professor of re- 
ligion and health in the medical school of the University of Chi- 
cago and also in Chicago's Federated Theological Faculty, a 
position which is thus far unique. Ziegler is on the staff of the 
American Association of Theological Schools. 

The outstanding feature of our programs in the summer of 
1944 was a visit from Dr. Harry Stack Sullivan. While in Wash- 
ington on the conscientious objector study, I learned that he was 
going to New Mexico in July, and I prevailed upon him to stop 


off at Elgin. As the time of his visit approached, I wrote to him ? 
asking him to let me know when he would arrive, and by what 
train. I received no reply and I did not know what to do. 
Finally, on the morning of the appointed day, I received a tele- 
phone call Dr. Sullivan was waiting in the Baltimore and Ohio 
Station in Chicago, forty miles away. I hurried in and found 
him pacing nervously up and down, holding by the leash one of 
his favorite cocker spaniels, and with two heavy bags piled up 
on the side. I was certainly glad I had not suggested that he 
take the interarban train! He gave two splendid lectures at our 
hospital and a superb demonstration of his technique of inter- 
viewing patients. 

This same year of 1944 saw an event of great importance in 
the development of clinical training as a national movement. 
A conference was suggested, and made possible, by Philip 
Guiles, who for twelve years had been serving as professor of pas- 
toral psychology at the Andover-Newton Theological School in 
Massachusetts. He proposed this conference in order to fur- 
ther a meeting of minds among those concerned in this field of 
interest and to explore the relationship of such training to the 
curriculum of the theological schools. This conference was held 
in the Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh just prior 
to the biennial meeting of the American Association of Theo- 
logical Schools. Some thirty representatives of die theological 
schools were present, together with twenty-nine representatives 
of the various clinical training agencies. This conference was 
under the direction of Seward Hiltner, at that time executive 
secretary of the Commission on Religion and Health of the 
Federal Council of Churches, and previously director of the 
Council for Clinical Pastoral Training, whose devoted and ef- 


ficient service as organizer, writer, and teacher has been a most 
important factor in the spread o the movement. 

In the summer of 1945 I was given a new assignment, that 
of educational consultant to the Council for the Clinical Train- 
ing of Theological Students, and William Andrew took my place 
as chaplain at die Elgin State Hospital. I was to give all my time 
during the summer to the fourteen different training centers at 
that time in operation, giving them such help as they might "be 
ready to accept. It was a challenging opportunity, one which 
gave me a chance to take another look at the movement which I 
had helped to start some twenty years before. 

I discovered quickly that the other centers had been develop- 
ing along lines different from those which Beatty and I had 
followed. Most of them at diat time were still using my case 
records as a basis for some of their case discussions, but increas- 
ing attention was being given to die techniques of interviewing 
and to verbatim transcripts of interviews radier than to case his- 
tories. This development had originated in the general hospital 
setting, where students could not be turned loose on the wards 
without the closest supervision. I saw in this an important con- 
tribution. My only question had to do with the lessened interest 
in case histories. Might it not mean a lessening of interest in the 
basic understanding of the experiences involved? 

I was also somewhat troubled by the genetic emphasis. Eng- 
lish and Pearson's Common Neuroses of Children and Adults 
was the law and the gospel in most of the centers. It was as- 
sumed that most of the difficulties in later life were due to some- 
thing which had happened before the fourth year of childhood. 
There was therefore much speculation about the "oral" and 
"anal" and "genital" stages of development. I even heard sug- 


gestions about the "intra-uterine" and the "intratestieular stages"; 
and there were some who undertook to explain George Fox 
in terms of toilet training. The significance of the experience 
which had brought the patient to the hospital, the frustration 
out of which it grew, and the type of reaction it represented, 
were sometimes practically ignored or treated as matters of sec- 
ondary concern, while the dynamic factors with which religion 
is primarily concerned were being left in some of the centers for 
a three-hundred-question barrage at the end of the course. 

This meant that there was a tendency to accept Freudian doc- 
trine on authority without scrutinizing it closely, and a failure to 
ask the questions which are of first importance to the student of 
religion. What is more, there was no attempt to develop meth- 
ods of co-operative inquiry which would stand up under criti- 
cism nor to build up a body of tested and organized experience. 
The movement as a whole was not being undergirded by the 
program of inquiry which seemed to me so important. 

I was especially troubled by a tendency to accept the easy 
solutions to some of the perennial problems of sin and salvation. 
Take, for example, a patient who is torn with conflict between 
the demands of conscience and his erotic desires and impulses. 
The solution offered by some of our chaplain-supervisors was 
that of getting rid of the conflict by lowering the conscience 
threshold. There were even those who accepted the later teach- 
ings of Wilhelm Reich, advocating a freedom quite at variance 
with the basic insights of the Hebrew-Christian religion. 

Another difficulty which I encountered lay in the prevailing 
concepts of "group dynamics/' According to the current views, 
good teaching must be "student-centered/* never "content-cen- 
tered," and the teacher himself an umpire rather than an ex- 


plorer and guide. I had difficulty in adapting myself to the view 
that the teacher should remain passive. I had a lead which I was 
trying to follow out, a theory which I was trying to establish 
or disprove, one which seemed to me important. There was 
need, it seemed to me, for co-operative inquiry among a con- 
siderable number of workers, and for teachers who could lead 
the way. 

I was also troubled by the failure to win more acceptance 
among the theological schools. From the beginning of this under- 
taking I had constantly insisted that we were not trying to intro- 
duce anything new into the already overcrowded theological 
curriculum. On the contrary, we were trying to call attention 
back to the age-old problems of sin, of salvation, of prophetic 
inspiration. What was new was the approach. In a time when 
students of religion were making little use of the methods of 
science, and scientists were failing to carry their inquiries to the 
level of the religious, we were seeking to make empirical studies 
of living human documents, particularly those in which men 
were breaking or had broken under the stress of moral crisis. 
We were proposing to alter the basic structure of theological 
education. In 1945, it seemed to me that we had made little prog- 
ress toward that objective. Where we had found our way into 
the theological schools, it was chiefly in the form of added courses 
in "personal counseling/' and for the most part we were operat- 
ing independently of the seminaries. 

What made the situation hard for me was the fact that El- 
gin at once became the stronghold of the tendencies to which 
I objected. My successor was an able, attractive person with a 
mind of his own. Since I also had ideas that were dear to me, 
and since I had no choice but to live at Elgin, where all I had 


was invested, I was faced with a difficult situation, which I did 
not handle well Largely because of the difficulties on the home 
base, I failed to make the further contribution to the training 
program which I might otherwise have made. 

Since 1945 most of my time has been spent at Elgin. Part of 
that time I have served as acting chaplain, but my chief contri- 
bution has probably been in the writing I have done. 

During the period from 1945 to 1947, except for the summer 
months, I was set free to finish some needed tasks. Chief among 
these was the editing and mimeographing of the case studies 
which I had worked up for teaching purposes over the years. I se- 
lected and arranged them so that they would represent the differ- 
ent ways employed by patients in dealing with the sense of guilt 
and frustration. I then bound them, together with questions, ref- 
erences, and comments into a volume under the tide of A 
Beginning Course in Religion and Mental Health. A companion 
volume Is entitled, Collected Payers on Religion and Mental 
Health. This second volume consists of excerpts, translations, 
and summaries of readings which have meant most in my own 
thinking. These mimeographed volumes have been used not 
only at Elgin but in other training centers. 

To this period belongs also an article on "Co-operative In- 
quiry in Religion/' which appeared in Religious Education in 
September, 1945. This is a study of the journals in the field of 
religion. It shows the paucity of journals in this field which can 
lay claim to scientific standing. And even in those we do have, 
empirical studies of human nature and of religious experience 
are conspicuous by their absence. 

In 1946 my Problems in Religion and Life appeared under 
the imprint of the Abingdon-Cokesbury Press. This book was 
designed as a manual for pastors. It contains outlines for the 


study of personal experience in social situations, together with 
references and interpretations of the different types of maladjust- 
ment and various general problems, such as principles of per- 
sonal counseling, religious education, religion of the underprivi- 
leged etc. This book covers the ground I have myself traversed 
in my attempts at an empirical approach to the study of religion. 
It also exemplifies the methods I have employed. 

An article which I regard as of some importance is my "Onset 
in Acute Schizophrenia/' This appeared in Psychiatry in 1947. 
It is based upon an unusually interesting case, one in which 
the constructive features of acute schizophrenia are clearly in 
evidence, and the similarities between auditory hallucinations 
and creative thinking are readily apparent. This case has been 
borrowed by other authors, and I have used it elsewhere myself. 

With the departure of Chaplain Andrew in November, 1947, 
to accept a more lucrative offer in the New Hampshire State 
Hospital, I took over as acting chaplain at Elgin and attempted 
to launch a research program of the type which seemed to me so 
much needed. I undertook to inquire into the religious factors 
in schizophrenia, appealing for a grant-in-aid to the United 
States Public Health Service and hoping for support from our 
Council for Clinical Training, which under Fred Kuethef s able 
leadership had taken on new life. This aid did not materialize, 
but I went on with the project nevertheless. 

My reason for going on with the project in the face of the 
Council's negative attitude is given in a letter to Fred Kuether 
of October 15, 1947: 

The plan which I submitted in my last letter represents my idea 
of what is now most needed for die advancement of the cause 
which is entrusted to us. The movement will, I think, stand or fall 
according to the extent to which it is imdergirded with an adequate 


program of research. This means that we should begin some actual 
research project and that we should be training men able to carry on. 
I am of course much disappointed that the project was not approved 
by the Public Health Service we missed out, I am told, by a very 
narrow margin. Their approval would have simplified matters. Let 
me therefore repeat that my offer to serve as acting head was merely 
a stop-gap conditioned upon our being able to use the present chap- 
Iain's salary to establish the suggested fellowships. I am hoping that 
after a year or so we may be able to find support from some founda- 
tion and that I may be relieved of my responsibilities. In any case, 
to be worth while this project ought to have the backing of the 

A subsequent letter to Fred Kuether clarifies the situation 
somewhat further. 

There is indeed a difference in our philosophy of teaching. While 
I by no means agree that I am uninterested in my students, I do ac- 
knowledge that my emphasis has been more upon the understanding 
of the patients than upon the personal counseling of students. I pro- 
ceeded upon the assumption that in dealing objectively with persons 
in trouble, trying to see their problems in the light of his own reac- 
tions, the student gets help in the understanding of his own difficul- 
ties. It has been my policy to let the student work out his own prob- 
lems except in so far as he comes to me for help. 

The chief difference, as I see it, lies in your view that inquiry 
into the religious aspects of mental illness is a secondary matter and 
that research and training are to be kept separate. According to my 
philosophy, in all good teaching, student and teacher alike are en- 
gaged in co-operative inquiry, and the best possible conditions are 
to be found when they are actually engaged in a project of some 
practical significance* 

Perhaps you will see what I am trying to say. I have no quarrel 
with the present training program. The Council is doing good work 
and I can say, "More power to it." At the same time I fail to see 
that what you now call "training" must remain the only kind of 
training. I would therefore claim for training in research as much 


of a place as getting analyzed, and for tested religious insights as 
much attention as Freudian doctrine. 

With the approval of the superintendent, the chaplain s modest 
salary was divided between two "research fellows/' one of them 
a young physician, Dr. George H. Stevens, and the other a 
young clergyman, Rev. Gordon J. Chambers. Together we car- 
ried on the routine work of the department the Sunday morn- 
ing services, the choir, the group therapy conferences, the edit- 
ing of a hospital news-sheet, officiating at burial services, calling 
on the patients in the wards, and attending the staff clinical 
conferences. We had also a small group of students. Basic to 
the research project was the making of case analyses of newly 
admitted patients. Unfortunately Dr. Stevens was called into 
military service before the project really got under way. 

In the spring of 1949 ^ Council came to terms with us, and 
with its help we brought together an unusually able group of 
students. This group undertook a pilot study of the religious 
factors in schizophrenia along the lines of my research project. 

The heavy burden of routine work left little time for writing, 
but I did attempt to formulate the principles upon which a 
hymnal for use in hospitals should be constructed, and I began 
the task of revising our Hymns of Hope and Courage in accord- 
ance with these principles. The chief feature of this fourth edi- 
tion is a sixteen-page supplement, consisting chiefly of old 
favorites which did not fit into our original plan but had value 
because of their associations. At the same time, we sought to 
perfect the main text as a collection of the most helpful hymns 
and singable tunes. Frederick Marriott, the organist of the Rocke- 
feller Memorial Chapel of the University of Chicago, was music 
editor. Under his direction we completed the task of lowering 
the pitch of the times to meet the requirements of unison sing- 


ing by the congregation. This revision was made possible by 
the generosity of friends in commemoration of the twenty-fifth 
anniversary of the clinical-training movement. 

In the winter of 1950, in accordance with my understanding 
with the Council, I relinquished the chaplaincy, and Herman 
Eichom, now of the Napa State Hospital in California, took 
over. This left me free to finish the revision of the hymnal and 
to tegin work on the study we had made in 1949 of mystical 
identification in mental disorder. 

In October, 1950, the Council celebrated its twenty-fifth an- 
niversary with meetings that were held at the Chicago Theo- 
logical Seminary and at the Quadrangle Club of the University 
of Chicago. There were some fifty persons in attendance. In 
spite of our differences, I was given a central place in this 
affair, and several articles of mine were reprinted in the Journal 
of Pastoral Care. 

Two or three weeks later I went to Augustana Hospital for 
a checkup by my physician, Dr. Earl Garside. I was expecting 
to stay one night. Actually I stayed eight weeks, and then spent 
three months more convalescing at Elgin. An emergency opera- 
tion had been followed by severe thrombo-phlebitic complica- 
tions. By May, however, I had recovered sufficiently to attend 
the annual meeting of the American Mental Hospital Chaplains 
Association in Cincinnati, where I delivered a paper on the 
"Therapeutic Significance of Anxiety." This was published in 
the summer issue of the Journal of Pastoral Care. 

In August, 1951, when Chaplain Eichorn left for the Napa 
State Hospital, and no promising successor was in sight, I was 
again authorized by Superintendent Steinberg to take over as 
acting chaplain, and for three years the routine duties of the 
chaplain's office absorbed most of my time and strength. In these 


I was assisted, especially in the summer, by a succession of stu- 
dents who gave help, and at the same time required time and 
attention. I was also aided by two very capable patients. One of 
them, Miss Virginia Gore, assumed complete charge of our 
Messenger and is now one of our employees; the other, Mrs. 
Margaret lannelli, a talented artist, has given twenty years of 
devoted service to the chaplain's office. 

I did, however, find time to do some writing. First among 
my literary efforts in this period was the completion of my study 
of Mystical Indentification in Mental Disorder. This was de- 
livered before the Central Conference of American Rabbis at 
Sinai Temple, in Chicago, in December, 1951. It was published 
in Psychiatry in August, 1952. This article is a reconnaissance 
survey. Its statistics are of the compass-and-pacing variety, so 
familiar in Forest Service days. A factor analysis was therefore 
suggested by my friend, Dr. R. L. Jenkins, chief of research, of 
the Veterans Administration. This was carried out by Dr. 
Maurice Lorr, statistician with the Veterans Administration, and 
published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology for October, 
1954, under the title of "Schizophrenic Ideation as Striving To- 
ward the Solution of Conflict/' The formidable statistics do not, 
however, alter the fact that it is a pilot study. It raises questions 
and suggests a method of answering them. The questions it 
raises are important: What are the conditions under which we 
find the ideas of being Christ, or God, or agents of the super- 
human? What are the chances of recovery in such cases? What 
light do such cases throw upon the experiences of the great 
prophets and religious leaders? 

I therefore supplemented this study by an article on "What 
Did Jesus Think of Himself?*' This was published in the Journal 
of the BiUe and Religion for January, 1952. It is a reworking of 


my attempt to deal with the Messianic claim of Jesus as given 
in Chapter Four of my Exploration of the Inner World. This 
attempt had been given little or no attention from New Testa- 
ment scholars. Since my "Exploration had been out of print for 
some years, it seemed to me to be in order to make a new attack 
upon this problem in the light of the study just completed* 

Starting with Albert Schweitzer's view that Jesus did think of 
himself as the divinely appointed Messiah of the Jews, I pointed 
out that according to the Gospel sources he had not only the 
ideas of being the Messiah together with that of the imminent 
coming of the kingdom of God, but he had also ideas of death, 
of rebirth, and of prophetic mission. This meant, according to 
my view, that he hadjhe SS^S^l?^^^?^ of ideas which are 
characteristic of the acutely disturbed schizophrenic, and these 
ideas are so deeply embedded in the Gospel sources that we can- 
not rule them out. What is needed is recognition of the signifi- 
cance of such ideas and of the experiences in which they are 
found. Even the patient who thinks of himself as Christ or God 
may be groping after a true insight We are all of us more im- 
portant than we dream. The decisive consideration regarding 
Jesus is that if he did descend into hell, as the Apostles' Creed 
says he did, he emerged victorious, with insights that enabled 
him to speak as one who had authority regarding the laws of 
the spiritual life. 

Schweitzer held that only when we recognize that Jesus did 
think of himself as the Messiah will we ever be able to under- 
stand him. In this article I tried to show that Schweitzer was 
right and, more than that, only as we recognize that Jesus 
shared in the searching experiences in which these ideas so often 
appear, will we be able to find the key to the understanding of 
the profounder straggles of the human soul. 


In 1955 my Religion in Crisis and Custom made its long- 
awaited appearance. This is die book which I began in 1940, at 
the suggestion of Professor Ross, and the one in which Arthur 
Holt was to have collaborated. As originally planned, it was to 
have been a larger book, with several chapters devoted to the 
great world religions. As it now stands, it is based almost entirely 
upon my own direct observations, and it represents my own 
methodology. I have tried in this book to carry the leads derived 
from my studies of personal crisis into the wider field of social 
crisis and the problems relating to the development and valida- 
tion of religious faith and its perpetuation and re-creation. From 
the methodological standpoint, it is a reconnaissance survey 
whose scale of accuracy is suited to the material under considera- 
tion and the yardsticks at my disposal. It breaks new ground 
and I believe that it has real importance, but the manuscript 
was sent to the offices of more than thirty publishers before it 
finally saw the light of day. The fact that it is a cross-frontier 
study involving religion caused many publishers to shy away 
from it. What I regard as the book's chief claim to consideration 
was apparently a handicap in their eyes. 

During the past five years I have been taking things somewhat 
easy under the title of "chaplain emeritus," while Clarence 
Bruninga, a promising young graduate of Wartburg Seminary, 
is serving as chaplain at the Elgin State Hospital I am happy 
in the fact that he is doing a competent job, both as pastor and 
teacher. I am happy also in the growth of the movement for 
the clinical training of students for the ministry. For this I 
claim no special credit for myself. It has been the work of many 
persons and it is due to complex forces. Sometimes I have felt 
that it has gone forward in spite of rather than because of what 
I have done. It has gone forward under its own power, develop- 


ing a philosophy which differs not a little from mine. For this 
I can be thankful, so long as it concerns itself with the living 
human documents of persons in trouble. 

The following credo, which I offered at the Twenty-Fifth 
Anniversary Conference of the Council for Clinical Pastoral 
Training held at the University of Chicago in October, 1950, 
may serve to summarize the central convictions which have 
grown out of my efforts to deal with the problem of mental dis- 
order in myself and in others: 

I believe that man is born subject to human frailties and perversi- 
ties. Educators may learn much from the consequences of mistakes 
made in early training, but it is a serious mistake to place all the 
blame for later maladjustments upon the parents. Even in the best of 
families and with the best of training unruly desires derived from 
our animal ancestry are likely to manifest themselves. The garden 
of the heart when left uncultivated is always taken over by weeds. 

I believe that men have divine potentialities. The characteristic 
feature of human nature is social control through the intemaliza- 
tion of social norms within one s self in the form of conscience. The 
human being has thus the capacity for doing the right thing not 
through blind instinct or outward compulsion but through inner 
self-direction. This method of social control is a new emergence in 
the process of evolution, and mental illness is the price we have to 
pay for being men and having the power of choice and the capacity 
for growth. 

I believe that certain forms of mental illness, particularly those 
characterized by anxiety and conviction of sin, are not evils. They 
are instead manifestations of the power that makes for health. They 
are analogous to fever or inflammation in the body. I am thus very 
sure that the experience which plunged me into this new field of 
labor was mental illness of the most profound and unmistakable 
variety. I am equally sure that it was for me a problem-solving re- 
ligious experience. My efforts to follow the leads derived from 


my own experience and check them against the experience of others 
has convinced me that my experience was by no means unique. 

I believe that the real evil in functional mental illness is not to be 
found in discontent with one's imperfections, even when that dis- 
content is carried to the point of severe disturbance, but in the sense 
of estrangement and isolation due to the presence of instinctual 
claims which can neither be controlled nor acknowledged for fear 
of condemnation. The aim of psychotherapy is not to get rid of the 
conflict by lowering the conscience threshold but to remove the sense 
of alienation by restoring the sufferer to the internalized fellow- 
ship of the best and thus setting him free to strive for his true ob- 
jectives in life. 

I believe that the paramount human need is that for love and 
that there is a law within which forbids us to be satisfied with any 
fellowship save that of the best. Religious experience is the sense 
of fellowship raised to its highest level, and religion is thus an inevi- 
table consequence of the social nature of man. This means that re- 
ligion is not to be explained in terms of relationship to parents. It is 
rather the reverse which is true. The parents are important to the 
young child because to a degree which is never repeated in the 
course of his existence they represent that in the universe upon 
which he is dependent for love and for protection. From the re- 
ligious standpoint the aim of education is to lead the growing in- 
dividual to transfer his loyalty from the finite to the infinite and to 
recognize that his parents are merely representatives of a higher 
loyalty, to which he owes unconditioned allegiance. For the re- 
ligious man this higher loyalty is represented by his idea of God, 
and that idea stands for something which is operative in the lives 
of all men whether they recognize it or not. Ethical norms do not 
stand or fall with a belief in God, but they do not exist in a vacuum. 
They rest upon and are functions of the living relationships symbol- 
ized by such a belief, and they are validated by their long-run con- 
sequences in the lives of those who hold them. 



THIS RECORD has thus far sought to present a simple, factual 
account. It has told the story of my life with a minimum of 
reflection and interpretation. There must therefore be a num- 
ber of questions in the mind of anyone who has read the narra- 
tive carefully. Some of these questions call for consideration. 


The first of these questions will probably have to do with the 
basis of the conflict, the sexual hypersensitivity which caused 
me so much agony in the adolescent period. I thought of myself 
as having a "diseased mind" and of being a "wretch in direst 
need." Did I not perhaps exaggerate the trouble and work my- 
self up into a morbid condition over something which was not so 
bad after all? Was not the sense of guilt a "needless and harmful 
intruder/' to use Dr. Fosdick's phrase? 1 Was not a "measure of 
intelligent common sense about a small prohibitory detail" all 
that was needed? I have often wanted to think so. Nevertheless, 
it remains true that until the decision to study forestry and until 
Alice Batchelder came into my life, I was fighting a losing battle 
on a crucially important front. I was a really sick person. I 

1 Ow Being a Real Person CNew York: Harper & Brothers, 1943), p. 150. 



needed something more thorough-going than intelligent com- 
mon sense; and the anxiety, the distress of mind, even when 
carried to the point of psychosis, was, as I see it, nature's way of 
seeking to effect the needed changes. 

The present-day tendency to seek the solution of a trouble- 
some sex drive by lowering the conscience threshold and looking 
upon sex as a natural desire to be lightly satisfied is something 
which seems to me to be a serious mistake. Such a solution takes 
little account of the principle which Professor Hocking sets 
forth so finely, that sex love, insofar as it finds its true meaning, 
approaches identity with religion. 2 It seeks somewhat the same 
thing, viz., union with the idealized other-than-self, and the 
health and meaning of love depend upon the common devotion 
to a common divinity. 

From the biological standpoint it is to be borne in mind that 
the sex drive has to do with the perpetuation and improvement 
of the race. Since it is for this that the individual exists, and 
since in man the sex drive is not controlled physiologically, as 
in the lower animals, but by means of the "mores," the conscience, 
it is hardly to be wondered at that its control gives rise to diffi- 
cult problems. Their solution is surely not to be found in easy 
self-indulgence, at least for those who are concerned with the 
realization of the personal and social potentialities that ought to 
be. For my own part, as I look back over the past, I have no 
regret for the anxiety and distress of mind which I suffered in 
those early years, but only for my stupidity and failure to learn 
the elements of self-discipline. 

But does not such a view impose a terrible burden upon the 
adolescent and upon those who are responsible for his upbring- 

2 Human Nature and Its Re-making (New Haven: Yale University Press, 
> chap. 42. 


ing? Probably so. But the solution, as I see it, is to be found in 
Paul's doctrine of the spirit as contrasted with the law. The 
important consideration is what one is in process of becoming, 
and any man, no matter what his frailties, is worthy of honor 
insofar as he is moving to become better and is doing the best 
he can with what he has to work with. 

My own experience may serve to call attention to the futility 
of merely imparting information in that which concerns sex 
education. The books which gave me trouble in my adolescent 
period were for the most part good books; but they supplied more 
information than I was able to handle at the time. It should 
be very clear that sex education is not a matter of instruction, 
but of psychotherapy. It is dependent not so much upon what 
the teacher says to the boy as upon what the boy is able to say 
to the teacher. 


Another question which may be raised has to do with the 
opening of the Bible and looking for guidance in the words 
upon which my eye happened to fall (see pp. 53-55)* Jn one 
of my interviews with Dr. Elwood Worcester at the time I was 
leaving Westboro, I made an apologetic reference to the fact 
that I had done that. He rebuked me sharply. This was not just 
superstition, he said. While he would never encourage anyone to 
employ such a device, it was in his judgment a well-established 
fact that communications were sometimes received in this way. 

I would not for a minute defend this as a practice. At the same 
time, I still believe that something more than coincidence was 
here involved. Those passages of Scripture and the other mes- 
sages bore with amazing directness upon the questions upper- 
most in my mind. I am very sure that if I had started out to look 


for pertinent suggestions, it would have been difficult to find 
any that applied more aptly than those which came apparently 
by chance. However that may be, these "messages" had value 
regardless of the way they came. 

Dr. Worcester, it should be said, was a convinced believer in 
psychic phenomena and a leader in the field of psychic re- 
search. I have myself long held the view that the religious 
Weltanschauung presupposes the survival of the personality 
and the existence of an organized spiritual world superior to our 
own. What I have questioned is the attempt to communicate 
with various discarnate spirits. My visits to a number of stances 
have impressed me with the fact that their procedures and be- 
liefs, and the atmosphere which pervades them, make for a dis- 
organized universe. For this reason I have looked upon them as 
unwholesome, except for the trained investigator, and I have 
deliberately avoided them. It is in my judgment of the essence 
of Christianity that prayer is directed to God "in the name of 
Christ/' thus making for a centralized universe. 

I am profoundly convinced of the purposive nature of the 
searching experiences through which I have passed. I am 
equally convinced that there is involved something more than 
blind striving, or elan vitale. For these beliefs my own experi- 
ence furnishes evidence to me. I can hardly expect it to do so 
for others. 


A review of this record will show that I have passed through 
five psychotic episodes during which my thinking has been ir- 
rational in the extreme and my condition was such as to war- 
rant the classification of "schizophrenic reaction, catatonic type." 
By that is meant that in sharp contrast to those forms of schizo- 


phrenia in which some adaptation to defeat aad failure has 
been made and accepted, they were periods of seething emotion 
which tended either to make or break, periods in the development 
of the personality in which fate hung in the balance and destiny 
was in large measure determined. 3 Of these five psychotic epi- 
sodes I believe I can say that, severe though they were, they have 
for me been problem-solving experiences. They have left me not 
worse but better (see pp. 59, 79-95, 114-20, 169-70, 176-77). 

In addition to these five psychotic episodes there have been 
five major decisions which have been marked by deviation from 
the normal (see pp. 45-47, 50, 55, 56, 74-75). 

All ten of these abnormal experiences began under the precise 
conditions which, for me at least, have characterized creative 
mental activity. There was intense interest in an important prob- 
lem. There was also marked narrowing of attention, and prayer 
carried to the point of absorption. Such conditions are fertile 
in new ideas, but the creativity is obtained at the expense of 
structured experience. Perspective may be lost and wide limits 
set for the validity of inner promptings. 4 There is likely to be 
a radical change in the concept of the self, marked frequently 
by the sense of mystical identification, which leads some psy- 
chiatrists to explain such experiences in terms of "weak ego 

The beginning of the abnormal experience, regardless of its 
severity, and its most distinguishing characteristic, is to be found 
in what Professor Coe has called the "automatism." By this he 
meant the idea, or thought structure, which after a period of 
incubation in the region of dim awareness, leaps suddenly into 

s A. T. Boisen, Exploration of the Inner World CNew York: Harper & 
Brothers, 1952.3, dbap. i; Religion in Crisis and Custom CNew York: 
& Brothers, 1955]), chap. iv. 

4 Henri Delacroix, oy, cit., pp. 376 ff. 


consciousness. 5 Such an idea may be interpreted as coming from 
a superhuman source, carrying authority because of its supposed 
origin. We have then the phenomena of "voices" so familiar 
to those who work in mental hospitals. So it was with me. The 
ideas which knocked me out so completely on October 6, 1920, 
came surging in as from an outside source and were so utterly 
different from anything I had read or heard before, that I ac- 
cepted them as what George Fox called an "opening/* or what 
Frank Buchman would call a "guidance." I was at first not un- 
critical, but I soon abandoned critical judgment and accepted as 
valid whatever came into my mind. 

This abdication of reason before the authority of the autom- 
atism is, then, distinctive of the abnormal condition, especially 
in its acute forms. A better way to express it might be to say that 
critical judgment, though never absent, ascribes undue validity 
to the automatism, or insight, and feeling displaces reason and 
common sense. The unseen world of fantasy and feeling be- 
comes the supposedly real world. 

The automatism, as a psychological process, is found not only 
in the experience of schizophrenics. It is to be found also in the 
creative activities of poets and inventors and scientists. It is the 
mechanism involved in spiritistic phenomena. 

It follows, therefore, that in the automatisms which character- 
ize acute schizophrenic episodes, in those which may accompany 
the making of important decisions, and in those of poets, in- 
ventors, scientists, and religious leaders, we have a continuum 

5 George A. Coe, Psychology of Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago 
Press, 1916), p. 103; chap. xvi. 

Eliot Dole Hutchinson, "The Phenomena o Insight in Relation to Reli- 
gion," Psychiatry, VI: 4 (Nov. 1943), 347*57- 

A. T. Boisen, Exploration of the Inner World, chaps, i and ii; Religion in 
Crisis and Custom, chaps, iv, v, and vii; "Onset in Acute Schizophrenia/* 
Psychiatry, X: 2, (May 1947), 159-66. 


of psychic events which differ from each other only in intensity, 
subject matter, and value. 


Dr. Adolph Meyer has said that he could listen with as much 
respect to the ideas of an excited schizophrenic as he could to 
those of an Oriental philosopher, because he knew that those 
ideas had meaning, and his job as a psychiatrist was to discover 
the sense in the nonsense. 

As I look back upon the strange ideas which came flooding 
into my mind during the disturbed periods, I keep that principle 
in mind. But what an array of ideas and how bizarre and utterly 
meaningless some of them seem! 

In any attempt at interpretation it should be noted that some 
of these ideas are characteristic of acute schizophrenia generally. 
Ideas of self-sacrifice, of death, of world disaster, of mystical 
identification, of rebirth, of reincarnation, of prophetic mission 
are to be found not only in my case but in other acutely disturbed 
schizophrenics also. As I have shown elsewhere, 6 such ideas seem 
to form a sort of constellation which is distinctive of acute schizo- 
phrenia. Where we find one of these ideas we are likely to find 
the others also. Such ideas do have meaning. Their basis may 
be found in the structure of the human psyche and in the con- 
structive aspects of the schizophrenic experience. The idea of 
self-sacrifice ^and death, which is most frequent in schizophrenic 
thinking, represents quite accurately the loss or renunciation of 
something of supreme value, with which schizophrenic dis- 

Exploration of the Inner World, chap, i; "The Form and Content o 
Schizophrenic Thinking," Psychiatry, V: i (February 1942), 2,3-33; "Onset 
in Acute Schizophrenia/' Psychiatry f X: 2 (May, 1947), 159-66; "Mystical 
Identification in Mental Disorder/* Psychiatry, XV: 3 (August, 1952), 2,87- 


turbances commonly begin. The idea of world disaster is the 
magnification of the personal death experience until it assumes 
cosmic proportions. The idea of rebirth stands for the inner 
meaning of acute schizophrenia, that of attempted renewal, or 
reorganization. The prophetic urge represents the world-wide 
outreach of vital religion, while cosmic identification comes with 
the sudden opening of the eyes to a staggering new insight, that 
even the most commonplace person is a social being, important 
beyond his wildest dreams. 

These ideas symbolize the meaning of the acute schizophrenic 
experience in its typical, or generic manifestations, and the pre- 
dominance of such ideas, when free from malignant tendencies 
such as suspicion, hostility, faultfinding, self-deception, wishful 
thinking, and eroticism, means usually that the healing forces are 
in operation, that hidden things are being brought to light, and 
that the sufferer is striving desperately to face what for him is 
ultimate Reality. 

Thus interpreted, an acute schizophrenic episode assumes the 
character of religious experience. It becomes an attempt at 
thoroughgoing reorganization, beginning at the very center of 
one's being, an attempt which tends either to make or break the 

In addition to these generic ideas there were some which 
were peculiar to my own case, ideas which I have not en- 
countered elsewhere either in my reading or in other cases with 
which I have dealt. Among these are the "theory of types" (see 
p. 105), that of "life in two cycles" (see p. 106), the idea of 
"levels of existence" (see p. 93), and the "family-of-four ' (see 
p. 82). In most of these I see no special meaning. I am inclined 
to regard them as due to the play of fantasy when the mind is 
stirred by strong emotion at its deeper levels. 


One of these ideas, however, has puzzled me not a little. I re- 
fer to that of the family-of-four. This idea sprang ful-fledged 
into my mind just at the time when I seemed about to attain that 
for which I had been striving over seventeen long years. It 
called for a renunciation of that hope, and it recurred insistently 
in each one of the subsequent psychotic episodes. It really seemed 
as though some deeper self were trying to impart some urgent 
message. But when I sought to interpret it in accordance with 
longings of my own, there arose a conflict which eventuated in 
the psychosis of 1930. 

What specific meaning this idea had in the later episodes is 
by no means clear, but for the earlier disturbance of 1920, the 
situation in which I found myself offers a clue. It is to be borne 
in mind that Alice was a professional religious worker, a repre- 
sentative of the organization which, at the time I first knew 
her, was in charge of about all the personal counseling which 
was being done in our colleges. It is also to be recognized that I 
was a really sick person who had come to her for help. This help 
she at first refused but eventually granted. She tried, however, 
to keep the relationship on a professional basis. She wrote to me 
on her official stationery, and she corrected me sharply whenever 
I assumed that anything beyond a professional relationship was 
involved. But that assumption was there in her mind, too, I 
think. She assumed that she would have to marry me to give the 
needed help. But for her, marriage was to be thought of only 
under certain conditions. I must first prove my manhood and 
the devotion I professed. This I failed to do. As a woman of 
integrity and courage she took that as her answer- At the same 
time, there was an obligation which she recognized. I had entered 
the ministry under conditions in which she was involved. She 
therefore felt a certain responsibility for me. 


But from the beginning I had told her that it was her help 
I needed and that I would never accept anything from her that 
she could not give freely. I had even gone so far, during a brief 
psychotic episode, as to try to give her to another man. 

The idea of the family-of-four might then represent the feel- 
ing deep down within me that there ought to be a way for her, 
or for her prototype, to give the needed help without having to 
sacrifice herself in a loveless marriage. And there ought to be 
a way for me, or for my prototype, to receive such help without 
having to undergo the frustration which I had suffered. 

What was involved in this idea of the family-of-four would 
then be somewhat like the Freudian concept of the "transfer- 
ence" relationship, which had struck me so forcibly when I first 
heard of it during my hospitalization at Westboro (see p. 104). 
Freud had found that in cases of neurotic illness in which treat- 
ment is effective, it is to be expected that the patient may become 
attached to the physician and that this attachment may even go 
so far as to become love. If this happens, it is not to be regarded 
as a cause for embarrassment, but rather as a source of healing 
which is to be accepted and utilized as part of the process of 
treatment. It must then be resolved before the cure is complete. 
There are difficulties in this interpretation, but of one thing at 
least I am sure. My love for Alice Batchelder has been for me 
a source of healing. 

The family-of-four was of course a crazy idea and there may 
or may not be sense in the nonsense, but in it and In the ex- 
perience out of which it sprang I see one principle which is 
eternally true. I am thinking of the Freudian teaching that the 
transference relationship must be satisfactorily resolved before 
the cure is complete. I am thinking of the old Dante-Beatrice 
story, in which the poet had to pass through the fire before he 


could enter Paradise and join the woman he worshiped. I am 
thinking of Professor Hocking's insistence that love between 
man and woman can be truly happy only when each is a free 
and autonomous being, dependent not upon the other but upon 
God. Where, on the other hand, a man's love for a woman is 
such that he draws not from the common source of strength, but 
clings to her, that man is not worthy of her. That principle is 
sound, and it may help in the interpretation of the experience of 
1920. It was necessary for me to pass through the purgatorial 
fires of a horrifying psychosis before I could set foot in my 
promised land of creative activity. 



FIFTY-EIGHT YEARS have now passed since I first met Alice 
Batchelder. During all these years the thought of her has been 
central with me. Through her I was led into the Christian min- 
istry, and with the passing of the years my love for her has 
become more and more interwoven with my religious faith. To 
her my thoughts turn, as I now bring this book to a close. 

The writing of this record has been no easy matter. Sometimes 
it has been for me like a day of judgment. It is distressingly 
clear that there has been on my part a succession of blunders and 
failures. The memory of Ponemah and the ill-starred expedi- 
tion after arbutus brings with it especial pain. And yet I have 
no regret. Our evil has been overcome for good. If it had not 
been for my failure on that occasion, Alice and I might have 
been married, and with her help I might have become a pass- 
ably successful minister. But so far as I am concerned, there 
would have been no new light upon the interrelatedness of 
mental disorder and religious experience. Neither would there 
have been for me any clinical-training movement. 

I am reminded of the ancient Joseph story, in which Joseph 
breaks down and weeps at the sight of the brothers who had 
sold him into slavery. He wept, it is clear, because he had 
caught a glimpse of the Love beyond that of father and mother, 
which even through apparent disaster had been shaping his 



destiny for good. He was thus able to say to his Brothers, "Be 
not angry with yourselves because ye sold me hither. So now, it 
was not you that sent me hither, but God." 

1 would surely be a man of little faith if I did not recognize 
in this story the guiding hand of an Intelligence beyond our 

For whatever of value may have been accomplished, Alice 
should share fully in the credit. We were, I think, as actors in 
some great drama whose roles are interdependent. In all that I 
have done she has been an indispensable factor, and hers the 
harder and more difficult role. She had to suffer for my mis- 
takes and slowness of mind. She was a rarely gifted woman 
who, on my account, never found her highest usefulness. So, 
at least, I interpret this story. For me, on the other hand, there 
has been movement, variety, the challenge of interesting tasks, 
and some measure of recognition. 

My mind goes back to the dedication of my Exploration of 
the Inner World, which was written during die searchings of 
heart which I underwent at the time of Alice's death. I recog- 
nize that I was suffering at the time from a deep sense of per- 
sonal failure and that my normal judgment was impaired. 
Nevertheless, I consider that dedication to be a true expression 
of my deepest feeling and best insight. It was indeed for her 
sake that I undertook my venture into the unexplored. Her com- 
passion on me, her wisdom, her courage, and her unswerving 
fidelity have made possible the measure of success achieved. 
And my love for her has been linked with all that is best and 
holiest in this life of mine. One thing only would I change. 
Instead of just the initials, I would write in her full name, as I 
have done in this book, that all may know of the love and honor 
in which I shall ever hold her. 



"The Commercial Hickories'* (Bulletin 80, U.S. Forest Service), Wash- 
ington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 64 pp. Written with 
J. A. Newlin. 

"A Rural Survey in Missouri," New York: Presbyterian Board of Home 

Missions, 42 pp. Written with Fred Eastman. 
"A Rural Survey in Tennessee/* New York: Presbyterian Board of Home 

Missions, 48 pp. 


"Factors in the Decline of the Country Church/* American Journal of 
Sociology, Vol. 2,2, No. 2, 177-92. 

"What a Country Minister Ought to Know/' Christian Work, Vol. 114, 

No. 25, June 23. 
"Religious Experience and Mental Disorder/* Mental Hygiene, Vol. 7, 

No. 2, April, 307-11. 

Book Review of Norman Thomas's The Conscientious Objector, in 

Adult Bible Class Magazine, September. 
"The Church and the Sick Soul/* Adult BiUe Class Magazine, May. 


"In Defense of Mr. Bryan: A Personal Confession by a Liberal Clergy- 
man/' American Review, May. 
"Escaping from the Blues," Adult Bible Class Magazine, May. 



"A Challenge to Our Seminaries/' Christian Work, Vol. 120, No. 4, 
January 23. 

LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS: A Service-book for Use in Hospitals, Boston: 
Pilgrim Press, 96 pp. 

"Personality Changes and Upheavals Arising Out o the Sense o Per- 
sonal Failure/' American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 5, No. 4, 
April, 331-51. 


"Evangelism in the Light of Psychiatry/' Journal of Religion, Vol. 7, 
No. i, January, 76-80. 

"Exploration of the Inner World/* Chicago Theological Seminary Regis- 
ter, January. 

"Clinical Training for Theological Students/' C. T. S. Register, No- 


"The Psychiatric Approach to the Study of Religion/' Religious Educa- 
tion, March. 

"The Study of Mental Disorders As the Basis for a Program of Moral 
and Religious Education," Religious Education, ApriL 

"The Sense of Isolation in Mental Disorder: Its Religious Significance," 
American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 33, No. 4, January, 555-67. 

"The Woman to Whom Jesus First Appeared/' C. T. S. Register, March. 


"Theological Education via the Clinic," Religious Education, March. 
"Religious Work in a State Hospital," Bulletin of the Massachusetts 
Department of Mental Diseases, ApriL 


"The Church and Sick Souls," C. T. S. Register, January. 
HYMNS OF HOPE AND COURAGE, A Revised and Enlarged Edition of 

Lift Up Your Hearts, Boston: Pilgrim Press, 112 pp. 
"Prayer," C. T. S. Register, March. 


'The Problem of Values in the Light of Psychopathology," American 
Journal of Sociology, Vol. 38, No. i, July, 251-68. 

"Schizophrenia and Religious Experience/* Elgin State Hospital: Col- 
lected and Contributed Papers, Vol. I, 70-83. 

"What Happened on the Road to Damascus," Adult Bible Class Maga- 
zine, October. 


"Experiential Aspects of Dementia Praecox," American Journal of Psy- 
chiatry, Vol. 13, No. 3, November, 542-78. 

Book review of Richard Cabot's The Meaning of Right and Wrong, in 

C. T. S. Register, January. 
"Christian Perfectionism," C. T. S. Register, January. 

"The New Evangelism," C. T. S. Register, March. 


EXPLORATION OF THE INNER WORLD, Chicago: Willett, Clark & Co., 
xi+32i pp.; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952. 

"God and the Cross in Human Experience," C. T. S. Register, March. 


"Types of Dementia Praecox: A Study in Psychiatric Classification," 
Psychiatry, Vol. i, No. 2, May, 233-36. 


"The Holy Rollers Come to Town," C. T. S. Register, January. 
"Conversion and Mental Health," International Journal of Religious 

Education, January. 

"Religion and Hard Times," Social Action, March. 
"Economic Distress and Religious Experience," Psychiatry, Vol. 2, No. 2, 

May, 185-94. 
Book review of James S. Plant's Personality and the Culture Pattern, in 

Psychiatry, Vol. 2, No. 2, May, 294-96. 



"Religious Education and Human Nature/' Religious Education, January- 

"The Psychiatrist Challenges the Minister," C. T. S. Register, January. 

"Divided Protestantism in a Midwest County: A Study in the Natural 
History of Religion/' Journal of Religion, Vol. 20, No. 4, October, 

"Theology in the Light of Psychiatric Experience/* Crozer Quarterly, 

Vol. 1 8, No. i, 47-61. 
Book review of C. G. Jung's Integration of the Personality, in Review 

of Religion. 


"Form and Content of Schizophrenic Thinking/* Psychiatry, Vol. 5, 
No. i, February, 23-33. 

"Religion and Personality Adjustments/' Psychiatry, Vol. 5, No. 2, 
May, 209-18. 

"Personality Adjustments in a Country Parish," C. T. S. Register, Janu- 

"Sin and Salvation in the Light of Psychiatric Experience," Journal of 
Religion, Vol. 22, No. 3, July, 288-301. 

Book review of Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom, in Psychiatry, 
Vol. 5, No. i, February, 113-17. 

Book review of William Lowe Bryan's Wars of Families of Minds, in 
C. T. S. Register, January. 

"George Fox among the Doctors," Friends Intelligencer, Vol. 101, No. 


"Niebuhr and Fosdick on Sin/' C. T. S. Register, March. 
"Conscientious Objectors: Their Morale in Church-operated Service 

Units," Psychiatry, Vol. 7, No. 3, August, 215-24. 


"Clinical Training for Theological Students," C. T. S. Register, January. 
"What War Does to Religion," Religion in Life, Summer issue. 
"Can a Sick World Get Well?" Christian Century, July n. 


"Co-operative Inquiry in Religion/' Religious Education, October. Re- 
issued in Journal of Pastoral Care, Spring, 1951* 

Book review of Wilhelm Reich's Character Analysis, and The Sexual 
Revolution, in Psychiatry, Vol. 8, No. 4. 


PKOBLEMS IN RELIGION AND LIFE, New York and Nashville: Abingdon- 
Cokesbury Press, 1 59 pp. 

Religion and Mental Health: A Beginning Course mimeographed for 
private circulation, Elgin State Hospital, 150 pp. 

Religion and Mental Health: Collected Papers mimeographed for pri- 
vate circulation, Elgin State Hospital, 150 pp. 


"Self-Expression/' The Pastor (Nashville, Tenn.), April. 
Book review of Charles Morris's Signs, Language and Behavior, in 

Psychiatry, Vol. 10, No. 2, 228-30. 
Book review of Roy G. Hoskins's Biology of Schizophrenia, in Journal 

of Religion, Vol. 27, No. 4, October, 298-99. 


"The Service of Worship in a Mental Hospital: Its Therapeutic Signifi- 
cance," Journal of Clinical Pastoral Work, Vol. 2, No. i. 
"The Minister As Counselor," Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 2, No. i. 


HYMNS OF HOPE AND COURAGE, Fourth Revised and Enlarged Edition, 
Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago 37, 111., 128 pp. 

"Anxiety: Its Therapeutic Significance," Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 5, 

No. 2, Summer issue. 
"The Challenge to Our Seminaries," reprinted from Christian Work, 

January 23, 1926, in Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 5, No. i, 

Spring issue. 
"Co-operative Inquiry in Religion," reprinted from Religious Education, 

October, 1945, in Journal of Pastoral Care, Spring issue. 
''Development and Validation of Religious Faith," Psychiatry, Vol 14, 

No. 4, November, 455-62. 


"Religion and the Unconscious in Freud, Jung and Fromm," Pastoral 
Psychology, September. 

"What Did Jesus Think of Himself?" Journal of BiUe and Religion, 

Vol. 20, No. i, January, 7-12. 
"Mystical Identification in Mental Disorder," Psychiatry, Vol. 15, No. 3, 

"George Albert Coe," Pastoral Psychology, October. 

"William James' Psychology of Religion: Its Present Status," Pastoral 

Care, Vol. 7, No. 3, Fall issue. 
"Religious Symptomatology in a Schizophrenic Breakdown," comments 

on article by Robert Leslie, Pastoral Psychology, Vol. 4, No. 37, 



"Group Therapy: Elgin Plan," Pastoral Psychology, March. 
"Schizophrenic Ideation As Striving toward a Solution of Conflict," 

Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 10, No. 4, October, 289-91. 

Written with R. L. Jenkins and Maurice Lorr. 

RELIGION IN CRISIS AND CUSTOM: A Sociological and Psychological 

Study, New York: Harper & Brothers, xv-f- 271 pp. 
"Psychiatric Screening of Theological Students," comments on article 

by Carl Christensen, Pastoral Care, Fall issue. 


"Pathological Anxiety," comments on article by Paul Tillich, Pastoral 
Psychology, March. 


"Religious Experience and Psychological Conflict," American Psycholo- 
gist, Vol. 13, No. 10, October, 368-70. 

"Therapeutic Value of Hymns," Pastoral Psychology, March. 

(Continued from front flap) 

graphically document the course of his ill- 
ness and of his slow, arduous pilgrimage 
back to health. 

While suffering extreme stress, Dr. Boisen 
had a 'Valid religious experience which was 
at the same time madness of the most pro- 
found and unmistakable variety." But his 
unswerving belief that emotional illness 
could have positive use led Dr. Boisen to 
become one of the first chaplains in a psy- 
chiatric hospital, to father clinical pastoral 
training in seminaries, and, through re- 
search, teaching and writing, to make a 
vital contribution to the psychology of reli- 
gion. The author of many articles and 
books, he was the first theologian to con- 
tribute to a number of American psychi- 
atric, psychological and scientific journals. 


first book, was described by The Journal of 
Religion as "the most important contribu- 
tion since the famous Varieties of Religious 

In his autobiography, Dr. Boisen not only 
explores his own inner world but also 
probes the meaning and motivation of life. 
The ultimate discovery of both religion and 
psychiatry, he finds, is the paramount hu- 
man need for love. OUT OF THE DEPTHS inti- 
mately reveals the Anton Boisen of whom 
Harry Stack Sullivan, the brilliant psychi- 
atrist, said: "We are struck by the power, 
the courage, the depth and tenderness of 
feeling, the clear insight and intelligence," 

No. 99o6A 


1 32 963